On February 24, 2010, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was critical of Mikhail Prokhorov for failing to meet his investment obligations in the electricity generating sector.
“We all talk about improving the climate for business investments, about formation of a normal market environment, including the electrical energy sector. But such a civilized market implies mutual responsibility….There are companies that stick to their word. And right now we are ready to enter agreements with them that will legally enshrine mutual commitments to work in new conditions…So I’ve checked who meet their commitments – those are either state-owned companies (Gazprom, Inter RAO UES, RZD), or foreign companies – our major foreign investors (Fortum of Finland, Enel of Italy, E. ON of the Federal Republic of Germany). There is, however, one major private company, LUKoil – it also works in full. And our other private investors have in fact fled. What kind of work is that? This is your civilized market, and this is the responsibility of business…as I said, there are those who, unfortunately, haven’t done everything necessary, everything that they had agreed to do, among other things receiving state money at the expense of additional [share] issues. In TGK-3 the major shareholder is Mr. V.O. Potanin. TGK-2 – is accounted by the company Sintez, the main shareholder is Mr. L.L. Lebedev. TGK-4 is accounted by Onexim and the major shareholder there is Mr. M.D. Prokhorov. Integrated Energy System – the major shareholder is Mr. V.F. Vekselberg…We, unfortunately, have examples when some objects – TGK-4, for instance – don’t even have operating plans. Not even plans! The major shareholder there is Mr. Prokhorov. He feels good in economic terms, as they say in certain circles, he made some dough. He has money. He goes to different offices, and he came to me recently. I have a very nice relationship with him. He seeks various use for these funds and resources. But it is necessary to meet the commitment assumed earlier!”
On March 2, Prokhorov was reported in the Moscow press as contradicting the Prime Minister, and charging that Putin was mistaken.
“The Chairman of the Government was probably given the wrong documents concerning the investment programs. The problem here is that all the [generating] companies without exception postponed their investment programs. There were objective reasons, in particular the decrease of demand; there were subjective ones, too. All changes [of investment programs by TGK-4] were coordinated with the System Operator. In my opinion, the problem is that the deputy minister [deputy minister of energy, Vyacheslav Sinyugin], who was responsible for the energy sector, was replaced. The previous year and a half he held long meetings, but no decisions were made. The criticism [by Putin] was due to incorrect information.”
On March 4, Prokhorov was again reported in the Moscow press. The day before, according to these reports, he had said he was convinced the Prime Minister had been right all along.
“I am in a very constructive relationship with the Ministry of Energy. The Prime Minister has full information.” Speaking of the reasons for the delayed investment program at TGK-4, Prokhorov said a works contractor was to blame, “who did not fulfill the obligations because of the crisis; [he] did not start works at the site. The second reason is a bit ridiculous. It’s Hurricane Ike [September 13-14, 2008, striking Houston and Dallas, Texas]. It destroyed the commissioned turbine at the General Electric plant in the US, so we had to postpone the work for one year. [Regarding Putin] we didn’t have a misunderstanding. The problem was that the interpretation of the problem was incorrect.”