For a month now, the Azerbaijanis have not given an opportunity to repair the power line accident, director of ArtsakhEnergo company Andranik Khachatryan told Armenian News-NEWS.am.
It has been more than 20 days since the breakdown of the only high-voltage (110 kV) overhead power line feeding Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) from Armenia.
The accident of the power transmission line entering Artsakh from Armenia took place on January 9, in the second half of the day, according to the data recorded by the relevant equipment of ArtsakhEnergo, in the Berdzor-Aghavno section, on the 30th km of the overhead line. That section is completely under the control of the Azerbaijanis; that is, even if the Lachin corridor is reopened, the Armenian specialists cannot approach the accident site without the permission of the Azerbaijanis.
If the Azerbaijanis allow the Armenian specialists to approach the area, it is possible to repair the damage within hours.
"It is difficult to say unequivocally whether the accident is technical or the result of a side intervention. Taking into account that the Azerbaijanis have not given us the opportunity to carry out accident repair works for almost a month, this gives reason to suspect that there was an artificial intervention. Moreover, the accident did not have serious consequences, and it can be restored within hours," Andranik Khachatryan, director of ArtsakhEnergo company, told Armenian News-NEWS.am.
According to Khachatryan, at the moment electricity is provided to Artsakh from the Sarsang hydropower plant, but its capacity limited, and if this situation persists, serious problems will arise.
"Given that today we do not receive electricity from Armenia and ensure our [electricity] consumption at the expense of local generating stations, and given the limited capacity to use the Sarsang reservoir, we have switched to scheduled plan outages. By calculating water reserves and our [electricity] consumption, we made a schedule of power outages. At first we switched off for two hours a day, then 4 hours, then 6 hours. It is not excluded that in the near future we will have to review the schedule of shutdowns again; it depends on the water reserves and the calculations of experts," said Khachatryan.
He emphasized that scheduled power outages have a negative impact on Artsakh’s economy.
"In addition to scheduled power outages, we have disconnected the power supply of large companies, we have taken them out of the [power] grid altogether, due to the lightening of the load. Gradually, that impact will become more tangible," Khachatryan said.
In addition, during this period, Azerbaijan regularly stops the natural gas supply to Artsakh, and therefore the entire burden is placed on the electricity producing resources. Heating problems arise in schools, hospitals, and homes.
"This is having serious humanitarian consequences. When the full load falls on this system, major [power] accidents occur. In cold winter conditions, the workload increases almost 2.5-3 times. It turns out that, in addition to scheduled power outages, people do not have electricity again for some hours due to accidents caused by overloading of overhead lines," said Khachatryan.
Due to the limited resources of electricity, it is also very difficult to ensure the normal operation of Artsakh’s hospitals, boarding facilities, elderly care and other such facilities. Alternative measures are taken to ensure minimum living conditions for socially vulnerable groups.