Azerbaijan energy system executives accused of negligence and abuse of power


July 5, Fineko/ Azerbaijani Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov reported to President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev at a special meeting on the situation in the country's energy system.

Garalov stated that a criminal case was initiated in connection with the accident on Articles "Violation of Fire Safety Rules", "Abuse of Official Authority" and "Negligence". Besides, an order was signed on creation of an investigative & operational group to consist of reps of the Prosecutor General Office, the Ministries of Internal Affairs and of Emergency Situations. At present, the investigation team is taking urgent measures at the scene of the accident. The scene of the incident was inspected, the relevant documents were seized, interrogation relating to the causes of the incident began.

"The preliminary data shows that on the basis of regulatory requirements the water temperature for hydrogen cooling of the station's generators should be 12°C, but as general cooling system did not meet the project and the temperature was 28.5°C. Once, in 1994, a relevant project was developed, and it was planned to lay a channel under the Mingachevir reservoir storage. This was not done, in such a situation, the voltage dropped and the current increased. Another important issue: despite the expiration of the service life of the voltage transformers, where the accident occurred, the rules of technical operation were not observed, the corresponding repair and restoration work was not carried out. 

Despite the fact that restoration work was conducted there annually, our experts give preliminary conclusions about the insufficiency of those restoration works. So, on 28 September 2012, as a result of a lightning strike, an air switch was damaged and replaced later by a modern sulphur hexafluoride switch. At that, the voltage transformer was not replaced and repair work was not carried out," Garalov said.

He added that analysis of oil in the body of the voltage transformer was not fulfilled, and its acidity, humidity, penetrating voltage and tangent were not checked, so during the accident the insulation of the voltage transformer was below the norm, which led to its damage.

At the same time, for the last 3 years the Ministry of Emergency Situations has indicated in more than six requirements addressed to both the management and the chief engineer of Azerenerji that there is an oil leak. In addition, the fire-proof insulation of cables was not provided, and in general, the system of automatic transmission of information about the fire was not installed, the water cooling system of 6 fuel oil tanks was not built. This issue has been raised repeatedly every year: six fuel oil tanks were not equipped with water cooling system. Allthisledtotheaccident.

"You’ve asked why the accident that occurred at one power plant is not localized and why does our entire power system fail? The opinion of experts is that Azerenerji has not built up to the end service of relay protection around the country. We’ll present the final conclusion after receiving additional expert opinions. The relevant investigative measures are underway and strict measures will be taken," Garalov said.