Moscow prosecutor: losses from power outage reach nearly US$60 million

Losses from last month's power outage in the Moscow region total 1.7 billion rubles (US$60 million; Ђ49 million) and could climb higher, city prosecutors said Thursday.

A statement from the prosecutors' office said the May 25 outage shut out the lights in thousands of apartment blocks and affected more than a dozen hospitals, meat packing plants, supermarkets and a Moscow oil refinery.

Included in the losses were the estimated costs of repairing machinery that was damaged in the power outage.

The director of the city water works, meanwhile, told the ITAR-Tass news agency that as much as 12,000 cubic meters (16,000 cubic yards) of sewage water was dumped during the outage _ much of which ended up in city waterways.

Mosvodokanal director Stanislav Khromenkov said the city's drinking water supplies were not affected because intakes are located outside city limits.

Power grid officials have blamed outdated equipment for the blackout, saying it was sparked by an explosion and fire at a 40-year-old substation.

Vladimir Pekhtin, the head of the parliamentary commission investigating the outage, however, asserted that the Chagino substation was not the source of the outage, saying it had been disconnected from the network at the time the outage began.

The commission is to visit the substation Friday.

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