Radio Liberty’s Tajik Service says the capital, Dushanbe, and provincial centers such as Bokhtar have so far been exempted from electricity rationing that began -- with no official announcement -- early last month.

But the rest of the country reportedly goes into a complete blackout from about 8:00 a.m. to 5:00-6:00 p.m. and then from around 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. -- seven days a week.

The daytime blackout coincides with the opening hours of schools, offices, banks, shops, and many other businesses.

According to RFE/RL’s Tajik Service, the worst hurt, however, are rural hospitals.  Some medical facilities in rural areas reportedly have to use diesel-fueled power generators during the power cuts, but not all village hospitals can afford them.

Patients in Hospital No 4 in the village of Khudoyor Rajabov in the southern district of Vose say they spend the nights in dark, cold hospital rooms.

Doctors say they simply don't know what would happen in case of any emergencies during the night. The hospital doesn't have a motor generator.

Tajik authorities, however, insist there is no energy rationing in the country.

"Media and social-media reports about...any planned electricity rationing are baseless," said the state-owned Barqi Tojik company that oversees the electricity industry in Tajikistan. 

In response to widespread public complaints, Barqi Tojik said in a statement on October 12 that winter preparation works "might" have caused "interruptions in the electricity power transmission" in some areas.

According to the agency, the "necessary" works include cutting tree branches that touch power lines and repairs at power stations and on transmission lines.

The agency didn't provide any date on when the "works" are expected to be completed.

Tajikistan has experienced many years of energy shortages -- many that even lasted throughout the whole year.

But many Tajiks hoped that "electricity rationing" would end after the Roghun hydropower plant -- one of largest in the world -- became partially operational and started producing electricity in 2018.

Once completed, the Roghun plant is expected to double Tajikistan's electricity-production capacity to 3,600 MW, the equivalent of three nuclear power plants.  Tajikistan hopes Roghun will turn the cash-strapped country into a major electricity exporter in the region.

Tajikistan also has several other hydropower plants, including Nurek and Sangtuda.

The current crisis comes as prices for gasoline, natural gas, coal, and firewood have skyrocketed in Tajikistan, leaving households with no other affordable options or substitutes to heat their homes or cook their meals.