MOSCOW, January 20 (RIA Novosti) - The threat of the cold spell that has enveloped Russia this week continuing raised the concerns of authorities Friday as meteorologists predicted bitter frost of about -42°C (- 43.6°F) in some Russian regions.
Emergency Situation Ministry officials in Novosibirsk and the Altai Territory said they were concerned over possible emergencies, including the downing of power lines, fires and transportation problems.
Regional Development Minister Vladimir Yakovlev said production problems had been registered at power plants near St. Petersburg in Vyborg, in the west Siberian cities of Tomsk and Omsk, in European Russia's Samara and in the Kaliningrad Region, the Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea.
The Federal Agency for State Reserves will release 30,000 metric tons of fuel oil and 390,000 tons of coal in additional energy supplies to the frost-ravaged Far East.
Power demand across the country has soared this week. The temperature in Moscow has hovered around -30°Celsius (-22°F), prompting residents to turn to electric heaters to combat the cold.
Russia's state-controlled energy giant Gazprom said it provided 750 million cu m of natural gas in additional supplies to domestic consumers January 16-18 - almost as much as Great Britain would typically use in two days during this time of year.
Meteorologists said the cold would relax its grip over Moscow this weekend, as the temperatures would be up some four-five degrees to -25° to -26°Celsius (-13 to -14.8°F).
The peak load on the Moscow power system hit a record high Thursday, reaching about 16,000MW, forcing Russian power giant Unified Energy System (UES) to cut back supplies to some of the city's consumers.