Putin blasts power chief over blackout

MOSCOW, June 6 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the head of the nation's main power company a public dressing down over a Moscow power outage that affected millions.

In televised comments at an expanded Security Council meeting Saturday, Putin accused Unified Energy Systems management of incompetence and called for an investigation into the electric monopoly's tax payments and spending, The Moscow Times reported Monday.


UES head Anatoly Chubais turned red as Putin said, "It is not enough simply to be a good economist. ... One also needs to be a professional in order to understand the importance of each little cog in the country's huge energy system."

Timely repairs on four "cheap little" transformers -- which cost $6,400 each -- would have averted the outage, Putin said, citing a government report on the accident.

Putin's comments prompted two top managers at UES subsidiary Mosenergo to resign later Saturday.

Power went out in large parts of Moscow and four surrounding regions May 25, stranding passengers on public transportation and forcing businesses to close for several hours. A rolling blackout began after a fire and equipment failure at a substation in south Moscow late May 24, and power was fully restored only about 40 hours later.


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