Ukraines Outage

Ukraines Outage

Angela Hernandez, Staff Writer - The Mustang Messenger

          Russia’s losses on the battlefield have prompted an attack on Ukraine’s people. Since October 10th it has directed more than 200 cruise missiles and kamikaze drones at a crucial element of Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure: the electrical-power grid. “I believe that some professionals from the energy sector of the Russian Federation helped their military,” says Dmytro Sakharuk, executive director of DTEK, Ukraine’s largest private power company. “They carefully selected targets; they did this in a very methodological way. “The aim is to chop the system into pieces so that power cannot be moved between different regions of the country to balance the load. In serious cases, this can even lead to much of the grid having to be shut down. 

          The second set of targets is the country’s power plants themselves. Those are bigger and harder to knock out, but as of last week at least 30% of the country’s power capacity had been damaged, according to UkrEnergo, the national-grid operator. Ukraine’s grid has been linked to Europe’s since March, allowing European providers to supply current if Ukraine falls short. But sudden shutdowns in any region could damage other infrastructure and heavy industry. To prevent this, power authorities are imposing rolling blackouts to keep demand safely below available supply. Power companies have tried to set up websites to warn residents when the lights will go off, but sometimes blackouts are unpredictable. “They just cut the power, we don’t know when,” says Valera, who works at a bakery in Kyiv’s chic city center. On the north side of the street, lights were shimmering and smooth pop music played in coffee shops, but along the south side restaurants relied on cash and candlelight. For now Kyiv’s nightlife continues to thrive, up until the 11pm curfew. The city’s skyscrapers still twinkle. But keeping this going in the face of relentless Russian missile strikes requires Herculean efforts. Part of the problem is compatibility. 

          Transformers are used to step the power down from the high voltage that comes from power stations to a voltage that households can use. 

Ukraine’s power utility, Ukrenergo, says the extent of the damage has set a new record, eclipsing the attacks the country sustained earlier in October. The earlier airstrikes marked the biggest escalation in the war since Russia invaded. The mayor of the western city of Lutsk, Ihor Polishchuk, says the damage inflicted by three Russian rockets “is not compatible with repair.” He asked for patience as engineers rebuild electrical infrastructure and restore water pressure. Kennedy from 3rd block Journalism stated that she thinks it is really sad that Ukraine is still going through all of this kind of stuff, and she wonders how it is going to be like in the future for them.