DUSHANBE, April 5, 2011, Asia-Plus  -- Following late frosts and snowfalls in the upper reaches of the Vakhsh River water inflow into the reservoir powering the Norak hydroelectric power plant (HPP) has decreased from 390 cubic meters per second to 289 cubic meters, Nozirjon Yodgori, a spokesman for Barqi Tojik holding company, told Asia-Plus Monday afternoon.

According to him, water levels at the Norak reservoir have fallen to 857.22 meters and “only little more than one meter remains to the critical point.”

“It is still premature to speak about ending electricity rationing in the country,” said the spokesman, “According to weathermen, warm weather is expected in the country in the first half of April and mountain snow in the upper reaches of the Vakhsh River will begin to melt.  We will be able to speak about ending electricity rationing only after water inflow into the Norak reservoir reaches more than 400 cubic meters per second.”

In the spring and summer, Tajikistan’s hydropower plants generate a huge amount of electricity that is exported to neighboring countries, but in the autumn and winter, especially if the summer was dry and water levels in reservoirs are low, electricity rationing is introduced in the country.

Electricity rationing is usually introduced in Tajikistan in November and lasts through April next year.  Measures seeking to curb the country’s rising electricity consumption are usually introduced in all regions except Dushanbe.  In addition to curbing rising consumption, the move also stems from a decline in the water level in the Norak reservoir.

This year, electricity rationing was imposed on the Tajik capital as well.  Since March 25, electricity supply to residential customers in some areas of Dushanbe has been cut off from 24:00 to 5:00 am; there are no limitations on power to strategic buildings in the city.  In the meantime, rural residents now have electricity for only two or three hours per day.