Ukrainian energy suppliers were forced to impose additional blackouts on Monday in addition to scheduled ones as temperatures across the country plummeted.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the blackouts are due to a higher level of demand for electricity than the country’s war-damaged infrastructure can provide. During a daily address to the nation, Zelensky appealed to regional and local authorities to double down on the message to residents to consume electricity.
Temperatures in Kyiv are expected to hover around zero degrees Celsius (32 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least the next 10 days.
Yasno, Ukraine’s biggest energy supplier, said emergency outages affected almost a million households and businesses.
Serhiy Kovalenko, CEO of Yasno, said engineers are working to restore power before even further cold weather sets in — but warned that Ukrainians will likely have to live with outages until at least the end of March.
The best-case scenario, barring new attacks on the grid, was that power shortages could be evenly distributed throughout the country, he said in a post on the company's Facebook page.
In the event of severe damage to the grid by Russian attacks, he warned people can expect “not only hourly stabilization power outages but also emergency ones, when there may be no light for a very long time."
Kovalenko urged citizens to be prepared for the worst-case scenario and to stock up on warm clothes, blankets and supplies in case of long blackouts.