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Power Supplies Disrupted In Armenia


Armenia - An electricity distribution facility.

Parts of Yerevan and other Armenian regions were left without electricity on Wednesday following what authorities described as an “accident” in the national power grid.

Officials said that sudden fluctuations in the power distribution system caused Armenia’s two largest thermal power plants to halt their operations early in the afternoon.

Only one of those plants reportedly resumed electricity generation in the evening. Power supplies across the country were mostly restored by that time thanks to emergency energy imports from neighboring Iran and Georgia reported by the Armenian government.

The power cuts also disrupted Yerevan’s subway system, leaving scores of commuters stranded in its tunnels. All of them were evacuated within an hour.

Yerevan’s Zvartnots international airport likewise reported a 30-minute outage. But it said it avoided any flight delays or cancellations after quickly switching to a reserve power supply.

Hakob Vartanian, a deputy minister for local government and infrastructures, said the government will form an ad hoc team that will investigate the emergency. “The investigation will show where the problem was,” he told reporters.

Vartanian suggested the outages may have been caused by a “technological problem” at one of the power plants or an electricity frequency fluctuation in Iran. “We are connected to Iran through a synchronized energy system,” argued the official. “Perhaps a major accident occurred there.”

The official did not list a computer hacker attack as another possible cause of the disruption.

A brief disruption in electricity supplies from Iran was blamed by the authorities for even worse power outages that were experienced by Armenia in 2013. All of Yerevan and some other parts of the country had no electricity for more than two hours at the time.

Incidentally, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani by phone on Wednesday evening. Pashinian’s office said they discussed Armenian-Iranian economic cooperation.

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