Power system overload causes blackout across Azerbaijan

Power system overload causes blackout across Azerbaijan
The lights went out on Baku's usually illuminated skyline when a spike in power use for air conditioners caused an explosion at the Mingachevir power plant.
By bne IntelliNews July 3, 2018

Electricity supplies are gradually being restored across Azerbaijan after the country was hit by a massive blackout early on July 3. 

The blackout was caused by an explosion at the Mingachevir Thermal Power Station apparently resulting from a hike in electricity consumption for air conditioning as temperatures soared to the high 30s. 

“The voltage transformer of a substation of Mingachevir Thermal Power Station broke on the night of July 2 to 3 due to the excessive use of electricity by the population caused by an abrupt change in weather conditions and increase in temperature to a high limit,” a statement from the presidential office said on July 3. 

“Repair and restoration work has immediately been launched at the substation. The situation is under constant control of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan,” the statement added. 

Meanwhile, a joint report from the Ministry of Energy and state power utility Azerenergy said there had been an approximately 40% increase in demand for electricity in the last few days. 

During the morning of July 3, power supplies were being restored across the country, with strategic sites fully restored, and most of the capital Baku already back to normal. 

“The energy supply will also be restored in other regions of the country within a short period of time. At present, the situation is under full control and the electricity supply in the country is gradually being restored,” said the energy ministry. 

In a sign of the disruption resulting from the power outage, Azerbaijan Railways announced widespread delays to trains in and out of Baku in a statement early on July 3. But in a later statement it announced arrivals and departures on key international routes including Baku-Rostov and Baku-Moscow, while traffic on the electric Baku-Sumgait-Baku route has been restored. 

Later in the day a second, partial outage again blacked out some of the country. The final statement issued by the energy ministry on July 3 said that the situation was under control and power supplies were being restored, but that some parts of the country were still without electricity.