Moscow Electricity Use Rises to Record Amid Renewed Cold Snap

Energy use in Moscow, Europe's largest city, today passed the record set during last month's cold snap as temperatures returned to near 50-year lows, leading the national power utility to renew restrictions for peak hours.

Energy demand ``has never been higher,'' Anatoly Chubais, the chief executive officer of the national power utility, RAO Unified Energy System, told an emergency meeting of executives and government officials today.

The situation is ``intense but absolutely under control,'' Chubais said on NTV television.

Energy consumption in Moscow, a city of more than 10 million people, peaked at about 16,000 megawatts on Jan. 20, the previous record, as temperatures plunged to minus 30 degrees Celsius (minus 22 Fahrenheit), the lowest in half a century. Today's low is expected to reach minus 29 degrees Celsius, according to the Federal Meteorological Service.

Unified Energy, which controls OAO Mosenergo, the main supplier of heat and electricity to Moscow, is cutting power to non-essential users by 500 megawatts in the evening today and tomorrow and by 296 megawatts tomorrow morning to help insure flows aren't interrupted by overloading pipes and transmission lines.

To contact the reporter on this story: Torrey Clark in Moscow at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tim Coulter at

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