Georgia is importing electricity from Russia to supply it to breakaway Abkhazia at a “very preferential price”, Georgia’s Deputy Energy Minister, Mariam Valishvili, said.
She said it is a “short-term solution”, expected to run until April, which was required to prevent power outrage, which the breakaway region was facing because of drop in Enguri dam water level.
Both the Georgian and Abkhaz sides first announced about import of electricity from Russia last week. Specifics of the arrangement were not made public at the time and details still remain sketchy.
“I cannot specify the price, but I can say that we are receiving [electricity] at a very preferential price,” the Georgian Deputy Energy Minister told journalists on February 25.
“We took this step and negotiated an agreement with Russia in order to supply additional amount of electricity to Abkhazia till April 1. The agreement has been made, and I think that all the sides are satisfied with this result,” she added.
Breakaway Abkhazia fully relies on electricity generated by the Enguri hydropower plant, whose 271.5-meter-tall concrete arch dam is located on the Georgian side of the administrative border and its five generators are on the Abkhaz side in the Gali district.
Drop in Enguri dam water level, caused by shortages of rain and snowpack that reduced flows from the Enguri River, amid hike in power consumption in the breakaway region, led to several hours of power cuts daily in Abkhazia from late January. Official both in Tbilisi and Sokhumi were predicting complete blackout in Abkhazia from late February in case of failure to secure additional supplies of electricity from sources other than Enguri HPP; restrictions on power supply to households in the breakaway region were removed in mid-February after the launch of import of electricity from Russia.