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Athens News Agency: News in English, 07-06-28

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <http://www.ana.gr/>

CONTENTS

  • [01] PM briefed over heatwave problems; gov't says power supply will meet surging demand
  • [02] Papandreou in Geneva for SI summit
  • [03] Papoulias concludes state visit to Armenia

  • [01] PM briefed over heatwave problems; gov't says power supply will meet surging demand

    Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis was briefed by the relevant interior minister on Thursday over repercussions and state services' measures to deal with an ongoing three-day heatwave that has scorched the east Mediterranean country, although temperatures are thankfully forecast to drop slightly beginning on Thursday evening.

    A batch of wildfires throughout the country, including one that claimed the life of two local residents, 42 and 36, in the Agia region of Larissa prefecture in central Greece on Wednesday evening, were the top priority on Thursday. Additionally, authorities and the state-run Public Power Corp. (PPC) continued to experience record-breaking power consumption nearing the grid's maximum output.

    A series of power outages were recorded on Wednesday, including in several Athens districts, as PPC officials apparently tried to steer the distribution system away from a possible regional blackout.

    According to the latest reports, some nine people have died as a direct result of the heatwave, which at times reached outdoor temperatures of 43C to 44C.

    After his briefing of the prime minister, Interior Minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos expressed the government's condolences for the victims, while he said that the most worrying wildfires still burning were in the Pelio, central Greece, and Dervenohoria area near north Athens' Mount Parnitha.

    Meanwhile, the power supply was gradually being restored to affected areas after an explosion and fire at a PPC high voltage distribution substation in the Oreokastro municipality near Thessaloniki, northern Greece. The blast caused extensive power failures in the city of Thessaloniki itself as well as in other prefectures throughout the Macedonia and Thrace provinces, including Halkidiki, Imathia, Serres, Kavala, Evros and Rodopi.

    Sioufas

    In commenting on PPC's performance so far amid one of the worst heatwaves in Greece over the past 20 years, Development Minister Dimitris Sioufas said that between June 18 and June 27 total power consumption in the greater Athens area (Attica prefecture) increased by 35.19 percent; 26.46 percent in the rest of the country.

    Sioufas, whose portfolio includes energy policy and oversight of state-run PPC, said the utility logged 66 hours of peak loads above 9,000 MW; 36 hours above 9,500 MW and 16 hours of peak loads above 10,000 MW. Additionally, he said power consumption for Attica prefecture -- host to roughly half of the country's 11 million residents -- totaled 4,118 MW, as opposed to a peak of 3,540 MW in 2005 and just 3,000 MW in 2003.

    Sioufas, in a bid to dismiss opposition criticism of poor maintenance of the grid and a shortage in power generation capacity, reminded that a peak load of more than 9,000 MW was reported for only one hour in 2003, whereas the entire southern half of the grid went off line on June 12, 2004 during the first hour of demand above 9,000 MW.

    Since 2004, the "Olympic year" for Greece, Sioufas said 922.8 MW have been added to the country's power generation capability.

    The minister blamed whatever outages on the overheating of cables, breakers and substations, while appearing confident that both production and distribution capability will more than meet demand in the present.

    Caption:Fire fighters attempt to extinguish a blaze at a Public Power Corp. (PPC) distribution substation in Thessaloniki , northern Greece, on 28 June 2007. The fire was reportedly caused by overheating amid a mini heatwave affecting Greece and the entire region. ANA-MPA /NIKOS ARVANITIDIS

    [02] Papandreou in Geneva for SI summit

    Main opposition PASOK leader George Papandreou is in Geneva on Thursday in his capacity as president of the Socialist International (SI), as a SI summit is expected to feature the participation of 300 representatives of political parties from around the world and some 40 heads of state and government.

    Developments in the strife-plagued Middle East, especially the situation in the Palestinian areas, Lebanon and Iraq, as well as the Kosovo issue will be on the agenda of talks.

    [03] Papoulias concludes state visit to Armenia

    Greek President Karolos Papoulias on Thursday concluded a three-day visit to Armenia, meeting in Yerevan with members of the ethnic Greek community and the Armenian Patriarch.

    On Thursday morning, he visited a museum of old manuscripts in the Armenian capital before receiving a delegation of Armenians of Greek descent. The latter said their small community far exceeds official figures of 1,500 and is over 4,000-strong.

    Issues on the agenda and the community's requests were outlined in a memorandum presented to Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Theodoros Kassimis, who was present.

    Immediately afterwards, the Greek president was received by Catholicos Karekin II, the head of the Armenian Church, for a one-hour meeting focusing mainly on support for Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomeos (Bartholomew I), following a Turkish high court decision earlier in the week denying the Istanbul-based Patriarchate's ecumenical status.

    During his three-day visit to Armenia, Papoulias met Armenian President Robert Kocharian and Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan, as well as planting a fir tree at the monument commemorating the Armenian genocide.

    Caption: ANA-MPA file photo of Papoulias.


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