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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

UES Holds Course in Transdnestr

DNESTROVSK, Moldova -- Russia's power monopoly is ready to invest up to $180 million in a hydro plant in Moldova's separatist Transdnestr region despite a row with the country's authorities and business partners, its director said.

Unified Energy Systems bought the hydroelectric power station in Transdnestr earlier this year.

But the sale was not recognized by Moldova's central authorities, who remain deadlocked in a 15-year conflict with Russian-speaking hard-liners who have set up a self-styled independent state on the left bank of the Dnestr River.

Sergei Syskov, general director of the UES branch in Moldova, said politics was interfering in the issue, but pledged further work.

"The UES investment plan for the power station is a very serious one. In total, we plan to invest in the company $150 million to $180 million over seven years to modernize production at all energy units," Syskov said in an interview.

Last week, the station stopped supplying electricity to the rest of Moldova due to a price dispute with Spanish Union Fenosa, which controls electricity distribution.

The plant wanted to raise prices to 4.08 cents per kilowatt-hour from 3.05 cents. Union Fenosa opposed the increase and threatened court action.

Moldovan authorities launched talks with neighbors Romania and Ukraine to import electricity and cover shortages.

"The situation is absolutely extraordinary. An economic issue has been turned into a political one," Syskov said. "When I came here I did not think that I was going to war."