Thursday, March 02, 2006

Borat Would Be So Proud

Look up while driving down the freeway next time you’re out in the countryside. See those powerlines? They pack a lot of voltage. In the USA, a typical high voltage powerline carries somewhere around 110 Kvolts, maybe reaching 220 kV in some places with more specialized needs.

But that’s nothing compared to the Powerline Ekibastuz-Kokshetau, which is the powerline designed for the highest transmission voltage (1150 kV) in the world. This powerline, carrying the number 1101, runs 268 miles (432 km) from Ekibastusz to Kokshetau in Kazakhstan. It is mounted on electrical pylons with an average height of 60 metres. The weight of the conductors is approximately 50 tons.

On a whim, I looked up what’s new with the Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company and to see what more I could learn about why they built a powerline that carries a million volts. Was this some sort of Cold War era attempt at outdoing the West simply to prove the superiority of USSR’s technology? Or was there a particular need for such high voltage? I still don’t know. Readers are invited to answer this question.

But I did find this kind of quaint and interestingly worded press release on the Kazakhstan electricity company’s website. Imagine a workplace where retires are rewarded with "gratuitous material aid,” medals, and subscriptions to Pravda. (I used to work for a big company. No one ever gave me a medal. I like medals. I wish I had one. Heck, I wish I had a subscription to Pravda, for that matter)

Press Release #1 Kazakhstan Electrical Grid Operating Company

For the period from 6 to 9 May will carry out solemn actions on which power engineers - veterans of Great Patriotic War (World War II) and the persons equal to them will be celebrated.

The actions spent within the framework of the Victory Day celebrating are not single actions. KEGOC JSC concerns to the Companies, where they honour the workers who have a deserved rest. Annually 402 persons, pensioners of the Company every Day of Power Engineers receive gratuitous material aid. Besides other forms of support of older persons are also practiced. So this year all the pensioners of power industry were provided with an annual subscription to "The Kazakhstanskaya Pravda" newspaper.

(By the way, if you don't know who Borat is, he's the sixth most popular man in Kazakhstan.)

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