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Kyrgyzstan temporarily restricted electricity supplies on Tuesday due to problems with two of the four generators at its largest hydroelectric power plant, a spokeswoman for the dam's operator said.
"In connection with the halt to the operation of two generating units at the Toktogul hydroelectric power plant, restrictions were imposed in the republic on December 8 during the morning peak load period," she said.
The Toktogul facility on the Naryn River produces 40% of the mountainous Central Asian state's electricity. Low water levels in the reservoir have forced strict rationing of electricity, with cuts averaging six hours a day introduced in October.
Energy Minister Ilias Davydov confirmed to Kyrgyz news website 24.kg that there was an incident at the plant on Monday night, but said the situation was safe and under control.
"There were minor failures to the second and third generators, which are being repaired now. The problem occurred because all generators failed at the same time," he was quoted as saying, denying that three of the generators were out of commission.
The minister warned that there would be cuts during the evening peak hours if neither of the turbines were back in operation.
The hydroelectric company representative said the unplanned shutdown of turbine number three occurred at 6:03 a.m. local time (00:03 GMT), with the second turbine stopped 40 minutes later.
All four generating units at the dam were put into operation in 1975. The company hopes the second generator will be repaired in time for the evening peak demand, while the third turbine will not be in operation until at least Wednesday evening.
Kyrgyzstan has faced severe energy shortages since March 2008 due to low water levels in the Toktogul reservoir, with cuts of up to 12 hours a day. Last winter, almost half the schools in the republic were closed from December to March, but this season the situation is expected to improve.
An accident at Russia's Sayano-Shushenskaya hydropower plant in August claimed 75 lives when three turbines were totally destroyed by a surge of water that flooded much of the complex.
The Russian industrial safety regulator, Rostekhnadzor, concluded that a number of factors, including design, operation and poor maintenance work, had caused the disaster at Russia's largest hydroelectric facility, which started operation in 1978.
BISHKEK, December 8 (RIA Novosti)
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