DUSHANBE, March 16, 2011, Asia-Plus -- Large electricity debts are the main reason for tightening electricity rationing in the regions, Nozir Yodgori, a spokesman for Barqi Tojik (state-owned utility responsible for generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity in Tajikistan), told Asia-Plus today.

“As of January 1, 2011, electricity debts amounted to 642.3 million somoni,” said Yodgori, “Rotational power cutoffs are not punishment; they are used to warn the most incorrigible nonpayers.”

He also notes that a sharp fall in temperature has led to ice formation and decrease in water flow in the Vakhsh River on which the Norak hydroelectric power plant (HPPP) accounting for 70 percent of electricity generated in the country is located.

“Compared to February, the Vakhsh River water inflow has halved,” said the spokesman, “Though water levels at the reservoir powering the Norak HPP has not fallen to critical levels, we have to save water because we do not know when whether conditions improve.”

We will recall that new power rationing in the northern Sughd province has imposed a limit on residential customers of only seven and half hours of electricity per day.  Residential customers in northern Tajikistan currently have electrical power from 5:00 am to 9:00 am and again between 6:00 pm and 9:30 pm.  On March 1, the supply of daily electricity to the province reportedly decreased from 8.5 million kWh to 7.5 million kWh.