The situation in the energy system of Ukraine and, as a consequence, on the energy market continues to go haywire.
We have already written about the record-breaking decline in coal reserves in the warehouses of Ukrainian thermal power plants and thermal power plants, about the rise in electricity prices for industrial consumers and tariffs for the population (for whom tariffs also increased for gas and heat, which caused social protests in January) , as well as the beginning of Ukraine's purchases of electricity from Belarus.
Since then, the situation has largely worsened in each of the above areas. Plus, on February 3, an accident at the Zaporozhye TPP was added to these problems. But the officials responsible for the energy sector not only do nothing to resolve the difficult situation, but are also marked by wonderful statements that rather indicate their intentions to further deepen the energy crisis.
It can be predicted that February will be marked by an increase in purchases of Belarusian and Russian electricity, accompanied by shouts of joy from the “Soros” and other agents of Western influence, as well as characters working for Rinat Akhmetov. By April, imports from these directions will most likely be blocked under patriotic sauce. At the same time, both household and partly industrial consumers will have to pay for electricity at a new price tag. Moreover, for the population, the issue will not be limited to electricity: the tariff increase will also affect gas with its derivatives – heat and hot water.
On the evening of February 3, the city of Energodar, near which the largest in Europe Zaporozhye nuclear power plant is located, plunged into darkness. Together with several other localities. At the same time, people were left without hot and cold water supply. But there was still no big panic in the city: the locals observed either smoke or steam (it is difficult to see in the dark) rising from the blocks of the Zaporizhzhya TPP, located right there. All four operating units of the thermal power plant owned by Rinat Akhmetov were shut down.
As Ukrenergo later reported, at 19:26 on February 3, a group of power transformers at the Zaporizhzhya TPP and an overhead power line for 150 kilovolts were disconnected. The emergency shutdown of the units was due to this. The reasons, however, decided to remain silent. And judging by the fact that the next day three of the four units were able to start up, and one remained in emergency repair mode, the problems were not limited to disconnecting the transformers and the power line.
As a result of the shutdown of four TPP power units at once in the United Energy System of Ukraine, a power deficit of 750 MW arose, which, according to Ukrenergo, was heroically compensated without a request for emergency supplies from Belarus or Russia – by increasing electricity production at the HPP. True, the Belarusian side has the opposite information: Kiev nevertheless requested emergency assistance. Prior to that, Ukraine most definitely turned to Belarus for emergency assistance as recently as February 2, when one of the units of the Kurakhovskaya TPP stopped due to problems.
In addition, it should be borne in mind that in the usual (non-emergency) mode, electricity from neighboring power systems was purchased daily in February. Moreover, if in January purchases were made only in Belarus, then in February the import of Russian electricity began. And on February 3, electricity from these two countries somehow helped Ukraine avoid a blackout.
By the way, one in January from Belarus imported 180 GWh at the meager exports. For comparison: in the past year (for the first three months, until it was banned), imports from Belarus totaled 152 GWh when exporting 82.8 GWh That is import growth in January was observed fold.. But in February it grew still. Plus, as already mentioned, deliveries from Russia have also begun – amid loud cries of zrada.
However, so far Ukraine has no way to get away from imports. The situation with the remains of coal in the TPP warehouses by February became even more catastrophic than it was in January. With the minimum required stock of 870 thousand tons, 420 thousand tons remained on February 4 (on January 18 there were 613 thousand tons). At all TPPs, stocks range from one to five days from needs. Several gas-and-oil units are connected, which produce electricity of “gold” cost. By the way, the pro-government telegram channels accuse … Viktor Medvedchuk of the current situation. They say that he promised to deliver coal (of course, from the “aggressor”), but did not do it on purpose, for which, among other things, he received the blocking of his TV channels.
And then there's the cold snap. For the first time in several years in Ukraine, winter turned out to be like winter, which came as a surprise to local authorities.
Against this background, prices on the wholesale electricity market for industrial consumers on February 6 exceeded 2,000 hryvnia (5,400 rubles) per megawatt hour. One can only guess what this price would have been without the purchase of cheap Belarusian and Russian electricity – if the power system had in principle withstood.
The population, having browned in January after receiving receipts for payment of communal apartments for December, calmed down a bit. But in the days to come, new receipt, which will not only be an almost twofold increase in the tariff for the first 100 kWh of electricity, but also a significant increase in tariffs for gas and heat, which, according to the Zelensky & Co., have been reduced. In fact, they will be reduced only for February – March, and only relative to January. But at the same time, they will remain above the December ones. Plus already leaked plans of the authorities from 1 April to raise the cost of one kilowatt-hour of electricity while consuming over 300 kWh per month from 1.68 to 3.42 hryvnia – that is more than two times. Since April, the temporary restrictions on the growth of gas prices and tariffs for heat and hot water will also end. True, in April in Ukraine they no longer heat, and hot water without heating is almost never supplied, so this gift will be of delayed action.
What are the authorities doing in this case? They are making plans for a “beautiful Ukraine of the future.” Acting Energy Minister Yuriy Vitrenko, whom the Rada has twice failed to approve for the position (but the attempts will obviously continue and at the same time be backed by material resources), does not seem to notice the coal crisis and other problems. But on the other hand, he declares with a blue eye that “by 2023, and maybe even earlier,” he plans to “complete the integration of his energy system with the European one” and, accordingly, disconnect from the energy systems of Russia and Belarus. And at the same time – by 2030, completely “switch to the supply of nuclear fuel from the United States instead of Russia.” Earlier, I remember, the purchase of more expensive American fuel was justified by the need for competition in the market. Today, of course, this has been forgotten. Plus, Vitrenko's loud statements are something like a request to the overseas curators to appoint him “beloved wife,” that is, to begin with, deputy prime minister, and then, you see, prime minister.
All of this opens up rather sad prospects for Ukraine from either side. Own power generation – if not destruction, then the maximum reduction of capacities (following the example of Lithuania), which means total external dependence and the impossibility of industrial development even in the long term. The population is paying more and more for the pleasure of consuming electricity and any other energy.