Heating season 2023-2024: when will power outages start in Ukraine?
The Ministry of Energy has denied reports of possible power outages in different regions of Ukraine starting October 1. Find out whether the power will be cut off, what is the current state of Ukraine's energy system, and what is known about the new heating season of 2023
The largest repair campaign at energy facilities since Ukraine's independence is underway. Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal emphasizes that thermal power plants are 80% ready for the heating season. The Ministry of Energy promises that no power cuts will be introduced in October.
We will tell you whether there will be any power outages and what the current state of Ukraine's energy system is.
How much damage did energy facilities suffer last year?
According to Ukrenergo, from October to March 2022, russia launched more than 1,000 missiles and drones at Ukraine's energy infrastructure facilities. As a result, there is not a single large thermal or hydroelectric power plant or large combined heat and power plant in Ukraine that has not been damaged or destroyed by the enemy.
A large number of large and important hub substations have also been damaged. One station could suffer 5, 10 or even 20 damages.
Ukraine ended the fall-winter period with 75% of its thermal generation destroyed or damaged.
In total, 78% of thermal power plants, 12% of hydroelectric power plants, more than 20% of solar and wind power plants, and 44% of nuclear power plants were out of commission during the attacks.
What is the current state of the energy sector in Ukraine?
Despite the difficult situation, the country is on track to be fully prepared for the heating season by October 1, 2023. As of August 15, the level of readiness in the housing and utilities sector exceeded 70%.
"Scheduled work is underway to prepare the housing stock, networks, boiler houses and energy facilities, and we expect to be 100% ready by October 1," said Oleksandr Kubrakov, head of the Ministry of Regional Social Infrastructure of Ukraine.
During the government meeting, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that seven nuclear power plants have been repaired so far and two more are scheduled to be launched before the start of the heating season.
According to the same report, the Ministry of Energy also decided to commission 25 thermal power plants by the beginning of the heating season, which will provide a 4.5 GW electricity system.
According to the Ministry of Energy, a total of 8.04 million kW of additional capacity has already been added to the system.
It also became known that 15.2 thousand boiler houses, about 84% of heating networks, 78% of central heating stations, and more than 80% of residential buildings, schools, kindergartens, and hospitals are ready for winter.
Heating season 2023-2024: what is known
The Ministry of Energy believes that russians may attack energy facilities again this winter, which could lead to electricity shortages in Ukraine.
At the same time, the Ministry of Energy assures that, despite previous attacks, Ukraine will be able to meet its electricity production needs for the next heating season.
The National Bank of Ukraine has left unchanged its forecast of the power system capacity deficit for 2023-2024. A slight deficit (3%) is expected in the third quarter and a slight increase (up to 5%) in the fourth quarter of 2023 and the first quarter of 2024.
"Due to the unfair distribution of electricity to consumers in certain regions last year, the Ministry of Energy has drawn up and published a schedule of possible power outages in advance, which the distribution system operator can implement only in case of shelling or damage to power facilities," the Energy Ministry said in a statement.
As of today, no power outages are expected in households in the fall.
Forecasts of possible power outages
Most likely, power outages will occur during peak loads, and not everyone will be left without electricity, according to the energy ministry.
"We need to be prepared for difficult scenarios, especially those caused by shelling by the russian army," said Andriy Gerus, chairman of the parliamentary committee on energy and housing and communal services.
According to Gerus, Ukraine will enter the heating season with almost the same capacity as last year. But the question is not only whether there will be enough electricity generation capacity, but also distribution capacity.
Given that electricity from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is not supplied to the grid, the deficit may grow even further.
"Imported electricity is expensive for Ukraine, and the tariffs do not cover this price. That is why part of the deficit can be compensated by imports, and the rest - by power outages," says Oleksandr Kharchenko, director of the Center for Energy Research.
Emergency, scheduled, emergency: what types of power outages exist and what is the difference - read our article.
What kind of power outages are there?
In most regions, programs for power outages have already been prepared. It is not yet known whether the blackouts will take place, but there is a rough idea of how long they will last.
For example, in Lviv region, they will be introduced on October 1 (at the request of Ukrenergo and only when necessary to reduce consumption). At the same time, power outages will be limited to two hours in a row and up to four hours a day.
According to the local administration, there may be six rounds of blackouts in Poltava region. "Vinnytsiaoblenergo has also prepared a program of emergency and scheduled power outages. The company describes the outage program as "neutral and indiscriminate."
The duration of the outages ranges from two to four hours.
We remind you! Last year, russian missiles continued to destroy Ukraine's critical infrastructure. Scheduled and emergency power outages were introduced to ensure that power companies could quickly restore electricity to Ukrainian cities. Find out how to spend your time during a blackout here.
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