DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's state energy supplier has announced the early end of winter electricity rationing, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.
Barqi Tojik deputy chief engineer Rashid Gulov told RFE/RL on February 21 that due to high water levels in reservoirs it is possible to end restrictions earlier than originally planned.
In 2010, winter electricity rationing ended on March 21, when Tajiks celebrated Norouz (New Year).
Gulov said the situation has improved since the Sangtuda-1 hydropower station, a Tajik-Russian joint venture, came on-line in 2009. He added that if the Sangtuda-2 plant, built jointly by Tajikistan and Iran, begins producing electricity in September, as planned, Tajikistan may be able to avoid electricity rationing entirely next winter.
Some people have complained to RFE/RL that the electricity to their homes is still restricted.
A man in the village of Zainabobod in the Rudaki district, 12 kilometers south of Dushanbe, told RFE/RL on February 21 that residents there had electricity one day earlier until 11 p.m., when it was shut off until 5 a.m.
A man from the Vose district in the southern province of Khatlon told RFE/RL on February 21 that the electricity supply during the day was improving but that there was no electricity between midnight and 5 a.m., making life difficult in cold winter months.
During the spring and summer, Tajikistan's hydropower plants generate a huge amount of electricity that is exported to neighboring countries. But in the autumn and winter, especially if the summer was dry and the water level in reservoirs is low, electricity is rationed for about six months.
This winter, Dushanbe and the provincial centers did not impose regular power cuts, while smaller towns had electricity for just 10 hours a day.
Analysts point to the warm and rainy weather as the main factor behind the easing of electricity rationing in Tajikistan. They recalled the exceptionally cold winter of 2008-09, when low temperatures drove up electricity consumption, precipitating an energy crisis that left even Dushanbe without heating and electricity.Read more in Tajik here