April 6, 2015 / 8:46 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Head of Turkey's power grid quits after blackout errors -Minister

* Energy minister blames management errors for huge outage

* Suggests maintenance programme was too ambitious

* Power cut hit almost all of Turkey’s 81 provinces (Adds quotes, background)

ANKARA, April 6 (Reuters) - The head of Turkey’s state-run power grid has resigned, taking responsibility for a huge blackout last week likely to have been caused by management errors, Energy Minister Taner Yildiz said on Monday.

Around 70 million people were hit by the outage, which halted transport networks and shut down offices for several hours, including in the capital Ankara and the largest city Istanbul.

“We’re seeing something where both too many risks were taken and there was mismanagement,” Yildiz told reporters. “The head of TEIAS who sees himself as responsible has resigned.”

TEIAS runs electricity distribution in Turkey. As well its head, Kemal Yildir, having resigned, two heads of department have been suspended, the minister said.

Power generation is managed by a different state-owned company as well as private companies.

The outage, which hit almost all of Turkey’s 81 provinces, was triggered after shutdowns at two power plants in Izmir and Adana Cukurova.

“Maintenance... should not all have been carried out at the same time,” Yildiz said.

“Too much trust for the system and self-esteem of our colleagues have led us to this point.”

Electricity consumption in Turkey has risen sharply in recent years due to robust economic growth and a rising population. The country has been forced to ramp up energy investments and imports of natural gas, its biggest source for power generation.

Yildiz said there was no energy deficit in Turkey, reiterating previous comments. (Reporting by Orhan Coskun, Writing by Humeyra Pamuk and David Dolan; editing by John Stonestreet)

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