Millions of people were left for hours without electricity on Tuesday when a huge power blackout hit cities in three Central Asian countries. Areas of Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan were affected when a shared power line was disconnected.
It caused traffic jams, airport delays, and other public transport disruptions across the ex-Soviet nations. The blackout happened in the late morning, with power restored in most areas by early evening. The power grids of the three countries are interconnected and linked to Russia’s network via a Soviet-built power line that runs through Kazakhstan.
It allows them to draw power from Russia’s grid when there are unexpected shortages. Uzbekistan’s energy ministry said in a statement on its official Telegram channel that the power outage had been triggered by an accident in Kazakhstan’s power grid.
“As a result of a major accident in the power grids of the Republic of Kazakhstan, there was a power outage in the (southern Kazakh) cities of Almaty, Shymkent, Taras, Turkestan (regions) and adjacent areas,” the statement said.
“The Uzbek power grid, which is connected to the Unified Power Grid, was damaged as a result of an accident that led to sudden changes in voltage and frequency on 530 lines from Kazakhstan,” it added. A spokesman for Kyrgyzstan’s energy ministry told AFP by telephone that power had failed “due to an accident in the regional energy grid.”