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Kyrgyz PM Faces Chill Over Heating Outage In Cold Snap

Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sapar Isakov (right) visited the power station on January 27 to assess the situation.

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sapar Isakov came under pressure from parliament on January 31 over a power-station accident that left thousands of households in Bishkek without heat in bitterly cold weather.

Lawmakers demanded that Isakov come to the legislature on January 31 and some called for his resignation after he initially sent a deputy.

Isakov showed up later in the day and said that he takes full responsibility for the accident, which came less than a year after a costly modernization of the Bishkek Thermal Power Station was completed.

He said he would do his best to determine the exact cause of the outage, which authorities say followed a problem with a pump at the plant.

The accident occurred on January 26, when the temperature in Bishkek fell to nearly minus 30 degrees Celsius. The Prosecutor-General's Office launched an investigation on January 30.

Alternate sources are being used, but residents say heating has not been fully restored. Temperatures remain below freezing.

Earlier on January 31, the government said that Isakov recommended that the power plant's director and another official be dismissed.

The modernization, started in 2014 and finished in 2017, was done by the Chinese company TBEA using a $386 million credit from China's Export-Import Bank.