Thursday, November 30, 2006

News from Kazakhstan

Borat Would Be So Proud

In the USA, a typical high voltage powerline carries somewhere around 110 Kvolts, maybe reaching 220 kV in some places.

But that’s nothing compared to the Powerline Ekibastuz-Kokshetau, which is designed for the highest transmission voltage (1150 kV) in the world. This powerline runs 268 miles across Kazakhstan. (Maybe that's it to the left of the camels?) It is mounted on electrical pylons with an average height of 60 metres. The weight of the conductors is approximately 50 tons.

Evidently, such a big hunk of metal is a pretty inviting target for Kazakhstan's criminal underworld. This, direct from the KEGOC.KZ website: (Note how it really does make sound like how Borat, he talk...)
PRESS-RELEASE No 5 dated 25 August 2005.

"On thievery of metal construction from towers of “Kokshetau-Kostanay ” high voltage transmission line"

Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company KEGOC informs, that on 6 August 2005 the group of persons made a thievery of metal constructions (angle) from 6 anchor blocks on the site of high-voltage transmission line “Kokshetau-Kostanay”. The total weight of stolen angles on anchor - angular towers makes more than 11 tons, the total meterage of the stolen amounts 2621,5 m. The cost of stolen angles amounts 1 678 845 KZT, and in view of regenerative works the sum of the caused damage of KEGOC JSC has made 2168802 KZT.

(Editor's Note: I converted 2168802 Kazakhstan "Tenges" to US Dollars on and found it equals about $17,000 US. Eleven tons of angle iron for $17,000? Seems sort of cheap.)

Due to Clause 175 Section 3 Sub-section b) of the Criminal Code of Republic of Kazakhstan (grand larceny) the criminal case is brought before a court by Ayirtauskiy North-Kazakhstan Regional Administration of Internal Affairs. The following citizens Mr.Zhdanov S., Mr.Samarin S., Mr.Gushchin N., Mr.Vlasov A. were detained by operative group in a course of operative – investigation actions in Kokshetau.

Last May, I first googled the Kazakhstan Electricity Grid Operating Company website to see what more I could learn about why they built a powerline that tops 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?

I found this 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, crappy company. No one ever gave me a medal. Or 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.

I saw the Borat movie last week. Maybe it's me, but it wasn't nearly as funny as the reviews led me to believe. It was amusing, but that's pretty much it.

Candid Camera and Trigger Happy TV did it all before.

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