Babanov promises to keep the lights on as Kyrgyz reservoir levels drop

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov chastised media outlets for scaremongering Wednesday and said that Kyrgyzstan’s power authorities had no intention of imposing electricity blackouts or raising rates.

Babanov expressed those comments in an attempt to calm public fears partly stirred up by media reports speculating that ongoing hot weather and low water levels in Kyrgyzstan’s main reservoir would lead to drastic government action to curtail domestic power consumption.

"Media speculation of an increase in electricity prices and an introduction of rolling blackouts need to stop,” said Babanov, the KyrTAG news agency reported.

“Electricity tariffs will not be increased, and rolling blackouts will not be imposed."

Turning his attention to the Minister of Energy and Industry Askarbek Shadiev, Babanov said: “There will be no rolling blackouts…. Collect the bad debts to pay for electricity.”

During the meeting, Shadiev reported that Toktogul reservoir held 604 billion cubic feet of water on Monday, 71 billion cubic feet less than it held on the same day last year.

Testing Monday measured the runoff at 18,200 cubic feet, versus 38,800 cubic feet in 2011, he said.

The minister attributed to reasons for the decrease as a rise in domestic consumption of electricity and energy exports to Central Asian neighbors Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.