Uzbekistan: Residents Freezing without Gas
Residents of Uzbekistan's Andijan region have been freezing as the temperature drops and authorities have cut off gas service, the independent news site uznews.net reports.
Gas pressure has plummeted so drastically that even special pumps designed to extract better flows in the winter aren't working.
Residents have told uznews.net that since Monday, not only has gas service for consumers been cut off, factories are also experiencing a shortfall. Electricity to residences has also been turned off periodically for increasingly longer times.
Local authorities are blaming the energy shut-down on "technical problems due to the fall of air temperature," says uznews.net
The thermometer is not expected to rise above freezing until this weekend, local forecasters say.
Officials in the Ferghana region warned consumers three months ago to expect problems with gas supplies, suggesting they stock up on firewood. Some loads of coal were also delivered as an alternative.
Earlier this fall, some homes and factories found their gas was shut off in Tashkent and other regions for alleged non-payment.
As we asked last month, why does gas-exporting Uzbekistan have people freezing in their homes without gas heat, or even people protesting about gas shut-offs?
Back in August, uznews.net started warning about a repeat of gas shortages this winter, and put the reason for the problem pretty starkly:
State-run energy holding Uzbekneftegaz almost doubled its production of natural gas in the first half of 2011 compared to the same period last year. As the government apportions its gas supplies for the year, the question is whether or not it will prioritise the provision of heat and light for its citizens in outlying regions or whether it will choose to sell the fuel abroad.