By RFE RL
(RFE/RL) — Azerbaijan experienced a total electrical blackout early on July 3, but authorities reported that supplies were quickly being restored throughout the country.
Authorities attributed the massive outage to a explosion in a thermal power station located in the city of Mingachevir.
The office of the presidency said that extremely hot weather — which prompted widespread use of air conditioning — taxed the electrical system and led to the accident.
The outage put residents of the capital city Baku in the dark for hours. But by 3 am local time, power had been restored, the president’s office said.
Temperatures are expected to soar later on July 3 to a high of 43 degrees Celsius, forecasters say, posing further strains for the electrical system. Air conditioning is one of the biggest drains on power worldwide.
Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Emergencies said firefighters brought the fire from the explosion in Mingachevir under control and were cooling down the electrical plant. It said no one was hurt of killed in the explosion.
“Electricity supply will be gradually restored in the country. There is no reason to panic,” a ministry official said. The ministry said electricity had been restored in some northern regions of the country.
Yahya Babanli, a spokesperson for Azerenergy, a state energy supply company, told Real TV that Azerbaijan is trying to import electricity from Georgia and Russia.
Real TV and Azerenergy reported that electrical supply resumed in some Western areas as the result of an energy exchange with Russia.
Babanli said that it could take a long time for the thermal power plant to recover from the explosion, which occurred at a substation connected to several high-voltage power lines.