Human error is to blame for Moscow blackout

Results of a parliamentary inquiry aimed to find the reason for a blackout in Moscow, which occurred on May, 25th, have been made public on Wednesday. The inquiry laid the blame for the massive power outage that swept Moscow and surrounding regions on human error at Russia's electricity monopoly, backing up findings of the company's own investigation.

"The main reason for the large-scale energy crisis was the mistaken and inadequate actions of the control staff, both of (Unified Energy Systems) and its regional divisions," said Valery Yazyev, chairman of parliament's energy, transport and communications committee.

"The fact is on the eve (of the accident) ... it was clear that the system was overloaded, but no advice on what needed to be done in these situations existed and the personnel at the substation weren't sufficiently alert," Yazyev said.

Anatoly Chubais, the head of the state-controlled power monopoly, accepted blame for the outage, and has said management made a "strategic mistake" by failing to ensure more protection against such accidents.

In May numerous breakdowns occurred at electric power plants, cutting a huge part of Moscow from electric power supply. About 700,000 chickens died at a poultry farm in the Moscow region as a result of the blackout in Russia's capital. Preliminary damage of the power outage was evaluated at $1 billion. Two days after the power crisis Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayev claimed responsibility for it.

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