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Power Problems
Winter Has Arrived in Ukraine

Ukraine may have signed a last-minute, temporary gas supply deal with Gazprom to get it through this winter, but the country’s short-term energy outlook relies on what was supposed to be a few months of relatively mild weather to keep demand from outpacing supply. But already Gaia is proving uncooperative, as an early cold snap is putting a strain on Ukraine’s ability to keep the lights on (and more importantly, the heat running), prompting Kiev’s energy minister to issue a plea for more judicious electricity consumption:

Volodymyr Demchyshyn on Thursday asked for a reduction in evening electricity consumption by 15 percent. “Please, take it seriously. We expect reductions in electricity consumption even today. If we see consumption fall… I promise to appeal (to the regulatory body) to stop the outages,” the minister told the government press service.

He also asked industrial companies to switch to working at night, promising attractive tariffs if they do. Shortages on the electricity grid have caused some outages across parts of eastern Ukraine and in the capital Kiev.

Ukraine isn’t just running short on gas; coal stockpiles are some 65 percent smaller than they were at this time last year, as fighting in the east has disrupted what has normally been a reliable, domestic source of energy. Kiev is now in the unenviable position of having to rely on Russia for coal supplies as well as gas.

It’s a bad sign when uncooperative weather threatens the very foundation of an economy. Fingers crossed for a balmy season.

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  • Pete

    It is sad that people are put through this.

  • Alex K.

    “Kiev is now in the unenviable position of having to rely on Russia for coal supplies as well as gas.” As far as gas is concerned, Ukraine may need an extra 1-2 billion cubic meters (bcm) in addition to the 26 bcm the government expects to be consumed between Oct. 14 until April 15. Why cannot this amount be imported from Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland? Ukraine is already planning to import over 6 bcm from those countries this winter.

    “…a plea for more judicious electricity consumption?” The best plea would be higher gas prices, long overdue. Ukraine cannot afford to supply subsidized gas to its residents and communal utilities. Raise prices across the board but don’t cut off supplies at the whim of a ministry.

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