Emergency in Yerevan. What is Happening?


The deputy prime minister Tigran Avinyan has announced about a major accident in the power system and stoppage of two major power generation units, the thermal power plant of Yerevan and the fifth block of Hrazdan Power Plant. The stoppage of two powerful generating units leads to electricity shortage in Armenia resulting in outages and changes in voltage. Tigran Avinyan stated that they are working towards regulating the situation by 7 pm.

So far there have been no detailed announcements about the accident.

What has happened in the power system of Armenia that has forced to stop two giant thermal power plants of Armenia?

It is known that the nuclear power plant was stopped a long time ago for repair and other activities to prolong the operation of the NPP by 10 years.

By the way, what happened in the power system prompts, once again demonstrates and proves that the NPP is essential to the energy security of Armenia. Although, at least for the time being, the nature of the accident is not publicly shared so it is impossible to state whether the NPP would not be stopped, if it were operating.

As is known, the fifth block of Hrazdan and the thermal power plant of Yerevan operate on gas. The fifth block belongs to Gazprom, operates on the Russian gas although ahead of the velvet revolution the head of Gazprom Miller announced about considering a program of exchange of gas and electricity with Iran.

Armenia runs a similar program for several years now at the thermal power plant of Yerevan which is owned by the state. In fact, this program operates the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline which, however, belongs to Gazprom. The gas pipeline is not operated at full capacity.

The Iranian gas outlines in the context of the emergency in the power system of Armenia on July 10. There is no need to go for conspiracy theories but in any case it is interesting that an emergency situation occurs several hours after an unprecedented statement which is essential to the energy sector and security of Armenia.

In fact, in the evening of July 9 Radio Liberty published an interview with Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan who is just back from Iran. Grigoryan announced that Armenia has started negotiations with Iran on supply of gas to exchange with goods.

This statement is significant in the context of the complicated negotiations with Russia on the gas price.

Mher Grigoryan’s statement is followed the accident in the power system of Armenia in only a few hours. At least as of 3 pm the public is not aware of its causes.

If two major electricity generating units working on gas are out, is the cause the gas supply system? At least, it is beyond doubt that there is a common cause but at what point is it? Can the cause be in the distribution network or the high voltage lines?

By the way, interestingly, a few days ago Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the owner of High Voltage Networks Samvel Karapetyan, a Russia-based Armenian tycoon, had a conversation at a café. Afterwards Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan stated that they discussed acquisition of an infrastructure in Armenia. The press assumed that the infrastructure concerned is the High Voltage Networks. Ahead of the velvet revolution the government had decided to sign a concession with Samvel Karapetyan for the management of the High Voltage Networks but after the revolution the decision of the former government was voided.

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