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Saturday, January 21, 2006

Update on Blackout

Here is an update on the blackout that hit the breakaway statelet. It appears the power plant in the North is in worser shape than what was previously thought. Authorities in the North are now saying that they may be dependant on electricity from the Republic for as long as a month.

North has ten days to fix power plant
By Jean Christou

THE ELECTRICITY Authority of Cyprus (EAC) said yesterday it would be very difficult to supply the north with electricity beyond the ten days the Turkish Cypriot side asked for.

Responding to reports in the Turkish Cypriot press that the supply from the south might be needed for a month, Costas Gavrielides, the EAC’s Customers Service Assistant Director said that would be difficult.

“We are not in a position to give them electricity for a month,” he said. “We agreed ten days. What we are giving them is at the expense of our own system. We don’t have more to spare. If we can give it to them we will, but it shouldn’t be taken for granted that we can supply for an extended period of time.

“It depends on whether we have the supply or not. It’s not easy. We understand they are in a difficult situation and we want to help for as long as we can.”

Turkish Cypriot ‘Minister of Agriculture and Forestry’ Huseyin Oztoprak said authorities might continue to purchase electricity from the south for a period of up to a month, pending the repair work at the Teknecik power plant.

The Turkish Cypriot side called for help late on Wednesday after an explosion disabled the power station in Kyrenia. The north had been experiencing problems for some time, according to Turkish Cypriot press.

An 80 mega watt connection for a period of seven to ten days until their problems were fixed.
Supplying the north is expected to cost between £600,000 and £800,000.

President Tassos Papadopoulos said yesterday the government would have given the electricity even if the Turkish Cypriot side could not pay.

“We would still have given it to them for free,” he said.

However that this would create problems with the competition commission as such a move would be regarded state grant and the EAC would have to pay a fine.

“Our compatriots needed help, we had the capability to help them, why shouldn’t we?”

Between 1974 and 1996, the Greek Cypriot side supplied all the electricity needs of the north until the Kyrenia station was up and running. This had cost the EAC a total of $162 million for the 22-year period. The money was never paid by the Turkish Cypriot side.

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