Tbilisi: Government Launches Program to Overcome Energy Crisis

Civil Georgia, Georgia
Feb 25 2005

Government Launches Program to Overcome Energy Crisis

President Saakashvili convened late on February 25 an emergency
meeting of the government to discuss, as he put it, the energy crisis
which persists in the country. Currently, only the capital Tbilisi
enjoys with round-the-clock electricity supply, while in other
regions and cities of Georgia electricity supply is limited.

`We [the current government] have not launched this [energy] crisis,
but this should be us who must put an end to this crisis,’ President
Saakashvili said while addressing the government’s meeting, which was
broadcasted live.

`I consider overcoming energy crisis as the government’s top
priority,’ he added.

Energy Minister Nika Gilauri, who has become in the focus of public
attention in recent days, because of speculations regarding his
possible dismissal, presented a two-year program outlining those
activities, which should be carried out in order to overcome current

He said that two priorities are outlined in the program, which should
be achieved in the next two years: security of energy supplies and
profitability of the energy sector.

`Security of energy supplies envisages diversification of sources of
electricity supplies. We should not be depended only on one power
transmission line, on one power plant etc.’ he said.

`The second priority is the energy sector’s profitability. The energy
sector should not be depended on donor organizations and donor
countries’ assistance; it should not be depended on the state
budgetary resources,’ the Energy Minister said.

Gilauri said that Georgia’s current deficit in electricity totals to
200-300 megawatts.

`Construction of the gas turbine electricity generator with total
capacity of 200-300 megawatts is planned to be launched soon. We
expect constructions to be over in maximum two years,’ he said.

`But even after this gas turbine electricity generator is put into
operation we will still need to import electricity,’ Gilauri added.

He said that currently Georgia imports 350-400 megawatts from Russia
and approximately 200 megawatts from Armenia

When President Saakashvili asked the Energy Minister what should be
done to increase import of electricity from Armenia and Azerbaijan,
Gilauri responded, that `increase of import from Armenia will be very
difficult because of the limited capacity of the transmission lines.’

`From Azerbaijan we can increase import by additional 80 megawatt,’
he added.

President Saakashvili instructed Prime Minister Zurab Nogaideli to
personally oversee implementation of this two-year program.

`If we fail to implement this, we should stand responsible for this
failure,’ Mikheil Saakashvili added.

`With the capacities currently available in Georgia it is impossible
to provide round-the-clock electricity to entire Georgia,’ the
President stated.

He said funds received from privatization process will be used for
construction of the new energy facilities. `We will need to invest in
energy sector approximately USD 150 million,’ Saakashvili added.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress