Crimea's blackout could last another month
Sergey Aksyonov, the head of the Crimean government, said today that it could be an entire month before electricity is restored to the peninsula.
"We believe we must prepare for the worst case—that this period will continue until the first line of the power bridge across the Kerch Strait is laid. Meaning December 22," Aksyonov said, adding that it might not be possible to restore Crimea's power supply from Ukraine, given the "destructive position" of those blockading the peninsula. Aksyonov says these groups will likely interfere with repairs to the recently-bombed power transmission lines.
Crimea relies on Ukrainian energy suppliers for at least 70 percent of its electricity. On November 20, the support columns for the main power lines into Crimea were destroyed with explosives. On November 21, another two transmission lines failed, causing a blackout throughout Crimea. The reserve power lines are not capable of meeting Crimea's energy needs. Because of the mass power outage, the Crimean government declared November 23 a work holiday throughout the peninsula, except in Sevastopol.
On November 20, when the first power lines started going out of service, the Russian Minister of Energy, Alexander Novak, announced that Russia is prepared to accelerate the launch of a power bridge being built across the Kerch Strait, which was originally planned to come online on January 1, 2016. Novak did not reveal how much sooner the project might be completed.