Over 1,000 towns plunge into darkness amid harsh winter conditions in Ukraine

NEW DELHI: Ukraine‘s power grid operator reported on Tuesday that severe winter weather had deprived over 1,000 towns and villages of electricity in nine regions. The operator urged residents to conserve power due to the weakened energy system from Russian strikes.
Electricity consumption reached the highest levels of the week as temperatures dropped to approximately -15°C in many parts of the country, grid operator Ukrenergo said.
“The consumption level continues to grow due to the considerable drop in temperature across the country,” conveyed the statement on the Telegram messaging app, noting that electricity consumption in the morning was already 5.8% higher than the day before.
“As of this morning due to bad weather – strong winds, ice power was cut off in 1,025 settlements.”
Severe weather conditions, including strong winds, frost, and ice-covered equipment, inflicted significant damage on distribution networks, causing delays in repair efforts, according to Ukrenergo.
Vitaliy Kim, the governor of the southern Mykolaiv region, where 215 towns and villages are without electricity, reported that the ice on electricity cables exceeds a thickness of 5 cm.
Ukrenergo said the power system was operating at full capacity and called on residents to conserve electricity. They urged minimizing simultaneous usage of multiple electrical appliances to assist the system in managing the demand.
“Currently, electricity is enough to supply all commercial and household consumers. But a big increase in consumption creates an additional load on power plants, which are already operating at maximum, and they need to increase generation very quickly and considerably and that can lead to technological disruptions,” Ukrenergo said.
To meet the demand, Ukraine had to import electricity from neighboring Romania and Slovakia, it said.
Ukrenergo mentioned that Ukrainian thermal power plants are in the process of recovery from last winter’s significant Russian strikes. Furthermore, solar power plants are unable to operate at their maximum capacity due to persistent dense clouds and adverse weather conditions.
During the previous winter, Russia aimed thousands of missiles and drones at the Ukrainian power system, resulting in frequent blackouts affecting millions of people.
Before the war, thermal power stations contributed approximately one-third of the total electricity produced in Ukraine.
Ukrenergo additionally disclosed additional damage to electricity networks in regions such as Donetsk, Kharkiv, and Kherson, which are close to the frontline and susceptible to artillery shelling.

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