Oct 20, 2022 - World

Russian attacks on Ukrainian utilities prompt energy rationing

Kyiv blackout

Traffic is seen by the Dnipro River at dusk on October 19 in Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo: Ed Ram/Getty Images

Russia's recent escalation of attacks targeting Ukraine's critical infrastructure has caused rolling blackouts throughout the country and prompted Ukrainian officials to urge citizens to cut back on electricity use.

Why it matters: The attacks on Ukraine's critical infrastructure threaten to leave many Ukrainians without electricity, water and heat as winter rapidly approaches.

The big picture: Ukraine's energy system has suffered more attacks since the Russian escalation on Oct. 10 than in the previous eight months of the war, the country's electric utility, Ukrenergo, wrote in a Telegram post Wednesday.

  • Starting Thursday, Ukrenergo said it would institute rolling outages lasting up to four hours. "Please make sure that you have charged phones, power banks, water, flashlights and batteries by 7:00 a.m. tomorrow."
  • Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko wrote in a Telegram post Thursday that the city had turned on its central heating system in order to save electricity by discouraging the need for electric heaters.
  • Klitschko further urged residents minimize their electricity use between 7 a.m. and 11 p.m. and to avoid using "powerful electrical appliances — microwave ovens, electric kettles, air conditioners, electric heaters" during these times.
  • On Thursday, 21 of Kyiv's 38 trolleybus routes were replaced by buses in order to save electricity, Klitschko wrote in another Telegram post.

What they're saying: "Even a small saving and reduction of electricity consumption in each residence will help to stabilize the operation of the national energy system," Klitschko wrote.

  • "We are grateful to consumers for responding and trying to control their consumption," Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, CEO of Ukrenergo, said during an interview with local media posted to the company's Telegram on Thursday.
  • "Energy workers need time to restore damage caused by enemy shelling," he added.
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