The Operation

The complex but interesting process of construction of Enguri HPP was followed by the operation period, which was definitely not easy. However, as they say, it was no less interesting to overcome the difficulties that accompanied the operation. In particular, this applies to the 80s, when construction went on in parallel with operation. In the created situation, the staff had to operate the generators and other basic electrical equipment, in fact, in the force-majeure circumstances. This required a lot of human resources, enthusiasm, attitude and, of course, professionalism. It should be emphasized here that the safe and reliable operation of such a strategic facility as Enguri HPP is of a great importance both for the enterprise itself and for the entire state. 


In addition to complexity of simultaneous construction and operation, the 90s were not easy for Enguri HPP either. It can be said that in this regard, it was really unlucky. First of all, this refers to the war in Abkhazia, which resulted in division of the enterprise into two parts. As is known, the power unit of Enguri HPP - generators and turbines, which generate electricity, are located in Gali district, the main building of the reservoir, the arch dam and a part of the 15-kilometer derivation tunnel - in Tsalenjikha district. When the Georgian military units and the Georgian-speaking population of Abkhazia had to leave the territory during the war in Abkhazia, Abkhazia was emptied en masse. Naturally, some of Enguri HPP staff tried to take their families to the safe place. At that time, the director of Enguri HPP was Giorgi Mikava, who decided not to leave the plant. It was about afternoon of September 29. Already on September 30, there were about only ten people remained at the plant. Thanks to them, the station did not stop.


In this hard time, it was important that the Abkhazians understood the strategic importance of Enguri HPP very well. This is proven by the fact that a special delegation led by Khuta Jinjolia, Head of Abkhazia’s Energy Agency, arrived in Saberio, the settlement of Gali district, to meet with the management of Enguri HPP. The Abkhazians promised them, that no one and nothing would touch them and they could to return the others as well. As employees recall, when they were inside the plant, no one really touched them, but the situation outside was definitely not safe.


In fact, the situation was the same in Vardnili HPP. As a result of the events developed by the end of September 1992, the plant was abandoned by the operational staff. The only person remained here for several days was Shota Sanadze, the director of the enterprise. In the background of the well-known events in Abkhazia, Vardnili HPP-II, Vardnili HPP-III and Vardnili HPP-IV were looted. All three plants operated normally before the war, today, only the building and the channel where the water flows are left.


In parallel with the political situation, the 90s were not easy for the energy system of Georgia in other directions either - nationwide restrictions, the half-darkened capital and the regions in a more difficult situation. At that time, Enguri HPP was of decisive importance. Due to the fuel shortage in the 90s, this period was mainly reflected on HPPs, and 50-60% of HPPs’ output came from Enguri HPP. Besides tariff was so low at that time that supply of electricity at this price was even a kind of social assistance. Today it can already be said boldly, If not for Enguri HPP, development of Georgia’s economy would be hard to imagine at all. 


Complexity of the operation process, which accompanied the 90s, was directly proportional to this state responsibility. This was caused by a kind of isolation. In addition, the connections that existed with equipment or spare part suppliers were severed. Between 1993 and 2002, the operation process was very complex. The fee for the generated electricity was so minimal that the staff did not get paid for several months. However, in 1997, the first steps were taken towards rehabilitation of Enguri HPP and the first grant was allocated by the Swiss Government. That is how the new life of Enguri HPP started - with rehabilitation.  

The Operation