Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the head of Russia's Unified Energy Systems, Anatoly Chubais, on Saturday morning. According to presidential spokesman Alexei Gromov, the president was interested, first of all, in information on fuel reserves and emergency situations in the country. Putin asked Chubais to provide him with detailed information about the situation in the Far East as a whole and the Maritime Territory in particular, hit by severe weather, and the situation in the Ulyanovsk Region. Chubais told the president that coal and fuel oil reserves in the country now exceeded the planned figures. In traditional "problem" regions - the Maritime Territory and the Kamchatka Peninsula (the Far East) and the Arkhangelsk Region (the north of Russia's European part) - fuel reserves are enough to rule out an emergency situation there, he said. Chubais said the most acute problems were caused by the inability of many towns to repay debts and even to pay for current power supplies. The president said in this connection that "the man in the street does not care who is to blame for the emergence of these problems." Putin and Chubais also discussed the state of the UES's fixed assets and the reform of the power engineering industry.
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