Beslan About to Plunge Into Darkness Again

Image by Michael Mistretta

Some people just can’t catch a break in life. Beslan, a city in North Ossetia, was the victim of the worst terrorist incident in Russian history in 2004 when Chechen separatists attacked the city’s largest school. Now though, it’s facing an entirely different challenge, even as the scars of that event heal over, the power company is about to pull the plug on the entire city.

To clarify, the residents of Beslan have paid all of their bills, however the power company hasn’t, and is about to be cut off. The 37,000 residents of the town have remained patient while watching their utility company plunge further and further into debt, by embezzlement or mismanagement or possibly both. In any event, if by May 12 there’s not a 25 million Ruble (1.05 Million USD) check in the mail, the city will be going dark.

As you might imagine, this is frustrating residents, who are caught in between blaming the utility company for, you know, not paying the 25 Million Ruble bill, and the city, which has created 11 of those 25 by not paying the utility company. It seems to me that the utility would still be in trouble even without the city’s freeloading, which makes the assertion by the company that this is all the fault of the city more than a little ridiculous.

Making matters worse, the regional power distributor–a company called Sevkavkazenergo says that once they drop Beslan, other distributors aren’t likely to want to pick it up again because of the payment issues. This is going to undoubtedly raise the rates for consumers, who, we’ll remind you, didn’t miss a payment.