Electricity Shortages in Kyrgyzstan: The Current Crisis in Perspective

Electricity Shortages in Kyrgyzstan: The Current Crisis in Perspective

November 5, 2014


November 5, 2014

Anatole Douaud, CASI, AUCA

Abstract: The preparation of the current winter season has been chaotic: electricity cuts are already taking place but not openly disclosed and a reform of the energy tariff policy is struggling to be implemented. The government had 5 years (the usual dry water cycle in the region) to get prepared as to not repeat the situation of the 2008-2009 and 2010 season, which was followed by a revolution based on the protests against tariff hikes and electricity cuts. Many observers, politicians and journalists already announce a repetition of history for this winter and the following spring. The slow wreck of the energy system of the Kyrgyz Republic is making the country very much dependent on foreign actors, but what are the reasons for it?

In a climate of defiance, most of the population and the elites point out the Kyrgyz energy system (that is, the law governing electricity, the energy ministry, the distribution, production and transmission companies) as the source of the problem. Indeed, years of day to day management, lies about electricity cuts, and preferential policies towards the city of Bishkek seem to have outlived two revolutions. The non-action of the authorities on the reform of the energy sector is hardly understandable for a regime born from the struggle against this same system following the last energy crisis.

We will see how this non-action is due to the fact that many international and national actors have an interest in keeping the Kyrgyz energy system weak and therefore manipulable. The presentation will focus on the different steps of the research project already undertaken and to come, as well as on the evolution of the current situation of electricity shortages and its consequences for the course of investigation.

Bio : Graduate from Sciences-Po Paris in International Energy, currently enrolled at CASI conducting research into energy issues in Central Asia. He worked two years in Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan in the energy sector. His research interests are mainly energy in international relations, and energy as a social phenomenon, as well as Eurasian studies.

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