8 Dec 2023 14:29

Ukrainian PM acknowledges energy system's capacity shortage, Ukrenergo CEO calls for saving electricity

MOSCOW. Dec 8 (Interfax) - Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky and Prime Minister Denis Shmygal discussed energy issues at a meeting on Thursday, Ukrainian media said, citing Zelensky's evening video address.

"Thanks to the integration of our energy system with Europe, we have appropriate support from neighbors, which is important. I thank every country that helps. And I thank every Ukrainian family, everyone who uses electricity sparingly and rationally," Zelensky said.

Shmygal, in turn, acknowledged the presence of capacity shortages in the country's energy system.

"Dropping air temperatures, accidents, the limited functioning of solar farms due to cloudy weather have resulted in the capacity shortage currently observed in the energy system. Ukrenergo has to resort to emergency assistance from Europe. This is an emergency measure, and it is not always guaranteed. That is why, the government and the energy sector call on everyone to reduce electricity consumption, especially between 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.," Ukrainian media outlets quoted Shmygal as saying in a social media post.

"Shopping malls, stores, restaurants can bring down the intensity of lighting in their signboards and window displays. Enterprises can analyze their manufacturing process from the point of view of energy efficiency. All this will help avert the introduction of power cut schedules," he said.

The electricity supply situation will be tense in the short term, but is likely to improve by the New Year, Ukrenergo CEO Vladimir Kudritsky said.

"[Electricity] consumption has even surpassed the level that we anticipated. Today we are observing maximum consumption in the current fall-winter period. The current deficit can be measured by several thermal power plant [TPP] units lacking in the system. That is why, we had to resort to emergency assistance from Europe in order to get through this difficult workday in a balanced manner," Ukrainian media quoted Kudritsky as saying during the national telethon on Thursday evening.

There are three factors that are able to offset the shortage and facilitate the energy system's balanced operation in the future, he said.

"First, it is the soonest reconnection of all possible TPP and heating plant units to the grid after maintenance. The second factor is the import of electricity which is very restricted from a regulatory standpoint today, though Ukrenergo ensured the technical capacity to import 1.7 GW. And the third factor is electricity saving both by the population and businesses," Kudritsky said.

The grid operated by Ukrenergo "has no bottlenecks, is functioning without restrictions, and there is no danger to electricity supply in this respect," he said.

As reported, Ukrenergo received 700 MW in emergency assistance for eight hours on December 7.

Electricity imports are hindered from an economic standpoint by the electricity market's price caps, which do not allow Ukraine to import electricity from Europe at a higher price, Ukrenergo said earlier.