Ilham Aliyev chaired a meeting on the state of the country’s energy system

04 july 2018, 18:15

President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev has chaired a meeting on the state of the country’s energy system.

President Ilham Aliyev said:

- As a result of a breakdown that occurred at the Thermal Power Plant in Mingachevir, serious problems have arisen in the energy supply of our country. Following prompt measures, energy supply was restored in a few hours. A State Commission has been established to investigate the issue on my executive order this morning, and it has already started work. Several tasks have been set before the commission. The main one is to investigate the issue and identify causes for the breakdown. In addition, the commission should identify those responsible, submit suggestions on measures to be taken in respect of them, and prepare an action plan to ensure that such breakdowns do not happen again.

Power supply was interrupted again last night. Again, as a result of the measures taken, power supply was restored in a short time. Let me note that I have issued a serious task to all state bodies to ensure that their representatives provide assistance to the population in such circumstances, so that we can come out of this situation with dignity. I can say that all state bodies have displayed high professionalism in implementing this task. As a result of their successful work, the breakdown has been practically eliminated. Although our citizens have experienced great difficulties, no serious incidents have occurred.

The Ministry of Emergency Situations has implemented the evacuation work quickly and correctly. People were evacuated from the underground. Those stuck in elevators were also evacuated. Rescuers have done a good job.

Internal affairs agencies moved into action very quickly. The top issue on our agenda was protection of public order. At the same time, due to the disruption caused to traffic lights, there was a threat of the city transport sliding into an uncontrollable state. Police officers successfully working at intersections managed to regulate the traffic.

I should also note that the people of Azerbaijan have shown great responsibility and great civil solidarity in this regard. In general, the Azerbaijani society managed to pass this difficult test with its head high. I want to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all the people of Azerbaijan for their support, understanding and civil solidarity. I know that people were helping each other. This shows again that Azerbaijani society is very mature and there is civil accord in the true sense of the word in Azerbaijan.

Transport issues were managed as well. The Baku transport agency took immediate measures. New buses were deployed and passengers were treated with attention and care. In a word, I think that all state bodies worked promptly under such difficult circumstances and displayed great professionalism, and we managed to come out of it with minimum losses.

However, the breakdown that occurred twice must be seriously investigated. Major investments have been made in the energy sector of Azerbaijan in recent years. Dozens of new power plants were commissioned in Azerbaijan in the past 15 years. New power plants with a capacity of 2,500 megawatts have been built in the past 15 years. At present, our energy potential is 6,400 megawatts. Of these, 2,500 megawatts, as I have already noted, have been created over the past 15 years. New power stations have been built in all the regions of our country – in the cities of Baku, Sumgayit and Shirvan, in Astara, Khachmaz, Sheki and Guba districts. At the same time, hydropower stations have been established in the regions. So the geography of these stations suggests that we are striving for the construction of new stations in all the regions of our country to ensure that the energy system is sustainable. However, practically the entire energy system was put out of action as a result of one breakdown. This raises very serious questions. This issue must be seriously investigated. As a result of the breakdown, people experienced great inconveniences in this hot weather. The economy sustained significant damage. It is true that both in the first and second cases, power supply was promptly restored as a result of prompt action, in a matter of a few hours. However, these breakdowns should not have happened. And even if they occurred, they should not have had such consequences. Breakdowns do occur: both in this industry and in others. No-one is immune from that in any country of the world. However, a breakdown should be local in nature. A breakdown that occurred at one station has dealt a huge blow to our entire energy system. Therefore, it is necessary to conduct a serious investigation and those responsible must be held accountable. I want to reiterate that we should prepare an action plan that would protect us from such breakdowns and their possible implications in the future.

Yagub Eyyubov is the chairman of the State Commission. He has the floor.

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President Ilham Aliyev: This cannot be the cause for the breakdown. Some people link it to hot weather. There are countries even hotter than ours. No such breakdowns occur there. When they do occur, the country's entire energy system does not fail. I repeat, breakdowns can occur. Work must be carried out and is carried out to eliminate the consequences. But the failure of the entire energy system of the country because of one breakdown is a huge mistake, to put it mildly. At present, we have sufficient power capacity. I said this in my opening remarks. In the last 15 years alone, we have established power plants with a capacity of 2,500 megawatts. We are exporting electricity to foreign countries now. Therefore, growth in consumption due to hot weather cannot be the cause for the breakdown. The Commission will investigate the causes. As I have already noted, a commission has been set up for this purpose. It is a huge embarrassment for you in the eyes of the people, in the eyes of the whole country. In such a hot weather, you caused so many inconveniences to people. People got stuck in the underground, old people, children, women, the sick, those stuck in elevators. You have caused so much damage to the economy. If we calculate only the losses of the Oil Company mentioned here, the country has sustained huge economic damage. I have allocated so much investment to this sphere. Major funds are allocated to this sphere from the State Investment Program every year. New power stations are built. The “Northern-2” power station is currently under construction. Over the past 15 years, 30 stations have been built. It is necessary to create a system in which the country's entire energy system would not go out of service because of one breakdown. Why did the power plants put into operation in Baku and Sumgayit, as I have already mentioned, in the regions, stop to operate after the breakdown?! You have to talk about reasons for that. This explanation should be provided by you. The information given to me here that the weather is hot and consumption is growing - this does not suit me at all. Sit down.

I repeat, Yagub Eyyubov, the issue must be investigated in the most serious way. All members of the commission must work hard. In a short time, I expect to be informed about reasons behind the first and especially the second breakdown.

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President Ilham Aliyev: Does anyone else want to speak? Therefore, all these issues should be thoroughly discussed at regular meetings of the commission. I want to reiterate that causes for the breakdown must be investigated. There is preliminary data, but we need more detailed information. Although causes for the breakdown are certainly important, even more important is the issue of the resulting failure of the entire system. This is a very serious fact, and additional measures should be taken to ensure that this does not affect the overall system in the event of a breakdown in the future, i.e. it is local in nature. I think this should be the main focus for the commission. An action plan should be prepared. It should reflect the ideas voiced at this meeting today, including the attraction of an international audit. I think this is very important. At the same time, it is necessary to conduct a full inspection and audit of the thermal power plant in Mingachevir. At the same time, it is necessary for leading international and most professional organizations in this field to conduct an analysis of the entire energy system of our country and submit their proposals. All those responsible must be identified and punished.

I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to Russia and Georgia, who have helped us in this situation. They helped us in this situation. As you know, Azerbaijan maintains close relations with these countries, we have friendly relations, and in case of a breakdown we provide assistance to each other. I think this is a very important factor, and I want to express my gratitude again.

It is also necessary to consider the issue of installing generators in strategic facilities, primarily in hospitals and in the underground. The Minister of Health has reported here that generators were working in all hospitals. According to my information, this is not true. Generators did not work in some hospitals: they were not available, were not connected or were out of order. Therefore, you must conduct a serious inspection, and report both to the commission and to me on the availability of generators in hospitals around the country and whether they are in working condition.

As for the underground, I know there are no generators in the underground at all. I think this is also a lamentable fact. I expect you to provide quick suggestions on the installation of generators at all underground stations, so that people do not experience difficulties when there is a problem.

I think the commission will soon complete its work, prepare and submit proposals to me. Thank you.