Kyrgyzstan to hold talks with energy grid partners

Kyrgyzstan will hold talks with its partners in the Central Asian United Energy System (UES) Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, Deputy Prime Minister Aaly Karashev said on 26 July 2012. 
Tensions have flared over the UES, as Uzbekistan siphoned off more electricity from the grid than it paid for. Kazakhstan then threatened to withdraw from the energy-sharing organization unless the Uzbek government paid the $7.5 million it owes for electricity usage.

Kyrgyzstan is in the midst of building the 500-kiloVolt Datka power station and its accompanying 500-kV Datka-Kemin power line, located in the southern Jalalabad province. Construction of the power infrastructure is estimated to take two and a half years.

“At this time we will work and negotiate with Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan to prevent their exit” from the energy grid.

Keeping the lights on in Central Asia is a problem. Kyrgyzstan is heavily dependent on hydropower, which freezes up during the brutal winters and causes power shortages. Uzbekistan last winter had difficulty providing power to many of its citizens, as gas supplies did not appear to be as plentiful as the government claimed.

Kazakhstan also has trouble providing power to its southern cities of Shymkent and Almaty, because they are located at such a distance from gas- and oil-producing towns in the far west of the vast country.