Ukraine faces winter blackouts after Russian strikes on power plants

Kyiv
Kyiv

Russia has seized more than half of Ukraine's power plants, with 1.2GW of generation lost in the June 1 attack alone, the Financial Times reported on June 1, citing Ukrainian government officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The attack also severely damaged infrastructure critical to transporting gas from underground storage facilities in western Ukraine.

"We should prepare for life in the cold and the dark," one of the officials said, describing the outlook for Ukrainians in the coming months, especially during the winter.

"This is our new normal," said the second official, gesturing outside a window to the darkness that had descended on Kyiv during a recent rolling blackout.

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Russia's goal appears to be to make life unbearable for Ukrainians, said National Security and Defense Council Secretary Oleksandr Lytvynenko, adding that Kyiv plans to set up a “decentralized energy system” with more mini power plants that would be less vulnerable to Russian attacks.

EU countries have already donated 120 shipments of critical energy equipment and tools to Kyiv to strengthen and repair the war-torn country's energy system, according to the Financial Times.

Read also: Ukrenergo: June 5 outages might go beyond 5 hours

In addition to increasing imports of EU electricity from 1.7GW to 2.4GW and bringing more gas-fired power plants online, Ukraine’s leadership will have to introduce further unpopular tariff increases, said Borys Dodonov, head of Energy and Climate Studies at the Kyiv School of Economics.

“If no measures are taken, according to our modeling, then probably the population will have only two to four hours of electricity [per day] in January.”

This follows an earlier announcement by the country’s Energy Ministry on May 31 that Ukraine had raised the electricity tariff for residents to 4.32 UAH/kWh ($0.11) as of June 1, causing the "night" tariff to also increase.

From Oct. 1, 2024, to April 30, 2025, during the heating season, consumers using electric heating systems will benefit from a preferential tariff of 2.64 UAH/kWh ($0.06) for up to 2000 kWh of electricity consumed per month.

During the summer of 2024, with an average monthly electricity consumption of 170 kWh, Ukrainians' bills will increase by 285 UAH ($7).

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