Mosenergo Goes Into Overdrive

As Muscovites start plugging in their space heaters, Mosenergo is planning to put its turbines into overdrive.

For a second year, the city's main power generation company will regularly drive its turbines into the red zone in an attempt to close the growing gap between the city's voracious appetite for electricity and the output of its aging power plants.

"It's like driving a car," said Mosenergo spokesman Vasily Zakharov. "There's a red zone at the end of the tachometer that you aren't supposed to stay in for very long," he said.

During the winter there are peak usage periods in the morning and at night when more power is required, Zakharov said. To boost capacity, Mosenergo runs its turbines faster than they are intended to go, generating an additional 600 megawatts of power, or roughly 6 percent of its total generating capacity.

The overdrive regime puts additional stress on the turbines, resulting in 4 billion rubles worth of maintenance work annually, compared with the 600 million to 900 million rubles Mosenergo had previously paid to keep its turbines running smoothly.

Engineers will determine from day to day, given the temperature outside, how much electricity to squeeze out of the network's 17 power stations, Zakharov said.