The Ukrainian government on Thursday requested emergency assistance from Poland, Romania, and Slovakia as freezing temperatures caused a shortage of power in the electrical grid, the state utility Ukrenergo has said.
Demand for electricity grew higher than what the Ukrenergo grid could support as snow fell in Kiev and the thermometers dropped to -4 Celsius (25 Fahrenheit). The company said it would import power from Ukraine’s neighbors.
“From 11:00 to 19:00, emergency imports of electricity from Slovakia, Romania, and Poland will be used to balance the energy system,” said a message Ukrenergo sent to customers across the country.
Power restrictions are not planned “yet,” the company added, but urged Ukrainians to save as much electricity as possible to ensure this remains the case.
Ukraine’s power grid was heavily damaged last year by Russian air and missile strikes. Moscow called the attacks a reprisal for the terrorist attack on the Crimean Bridge in early October. Kiev initially denied having anything to do with the truck bomb – while celebrating the attack – but eventually admitted responsibility.
The Russian missile campaign ended in March and Kiev triumphantly announced it had restored the power grid and resumed exports in April, thanking the West for the help. In June, however, Ukrenergo head Vladimir Kudritsky said Ukraine would have to boost production and import electricity in order to meet demand long before the onset of winter.
In late November, Ukrenergo sounded the alarm about the “difficult situation” of the energy system.
“Power plants cannot generate enough electricity to satisfy all the needs of consumers: solar power plants almost do not work due to dense clouds in all regions, and at coal power plants, some units are still under repair,” the company said at the time.