Making Through the Winter?!

October 7, 2022

Ukraine is dealing with a subtle enemy who is shelling critical infrastructure facilities, so the coming winter in the country will be difficult. And therefore we cannot rule out interruptions in the supply of gas and electricity, heat and hot water. Although Ukraine already has the practice of promptly resuming the energy supplies, the issue of preparing for winter is still relevant.

This issue is extremely relevant because as a result of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, 349 critical infrastructure facilities in the heat supply sector were damaged, 11 CHPs were shelled (four were destroyed), 3 TPPs and 335 boiler houses were shelled (of which 13 were destroyed). The destruction of large facilities of critical heat infrastructure, such as CHPs, TPPs, and large-capacity boiler houses, will lead to the need to take urgent measures to provide consumers with heat from other mobile sources of heat supply.

Not the best-case scenario is the lack of gas which can have a negative impact primarily on the district heating system. The lack of gas can lead to the situation when apartments with district heating will not be sufficiently heated and will have to turn on electric heaters. This may also cause ignition of the internal apartment and building networks.

What Do Specialized Institutions Say about Preparing for Winter? Let’s Start with Gas Reserves

According to the data of the GTS Operator of Ukraine (GTSOU), Ukraine has accumulated 13 billion cubic meters of gas for the winter. By October 15, these reserves will increase by another 1.4 billion cubic meters. With this, we can survive a mild winter. GTSOU also confirms the readiness of transportation routes for the import of gas from Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary. If there is enough domestic production, gas in gas storages, and imports, then the gas transportation system will allow us to make it through the winter without significant limitations for consumers.

In addition, for the period from August 1, 2022, to March 31, 2023, the Government approved fixed volumes of gas for heating and hot water supply to 605 heat energy producers and obliged Naftogaz Trading to supply gas for district hot water supply at a discounted price of UAH 7,420 for 1 thousand cubic meters. The Government assures that the price of gas for households in Ukraine will not change. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine and Naftogaz plan to keep tariffs unchanged at the expense of a special fund of the state budget.

Regarding the prospects of power supply, 40 mobile repair crews of the transmission system operator NEC Ukrenergo, operational staff, and relevant divisions are ready to do everything necessary to ensure that the residents and the armed forces have electricity, heat, and water supply. For this purpose, Ukrenergo prepares networks and power plants in advance, buys fuel (mainly coal of domestic extraction), and forms a much larger than usual emergency stock of materials, spare parts, and equipment for this winter.

How Does the USAID Energy Security Project Help Prepare for Winter?

Since the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion, the most significant assistance to Ukraine’s energy sector has been provided by the US Government through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Energy Security Project. The partner relations with heating companies are aimed at restoring the energy supply infrastructure to provide Ukrainians with heat.

U.S. Agency for International Development is helping the GOU and municipalities prepare heating systems and set up shelters. For example, procurement is underway for 300 winter tents (40 people each) with heat and electricity generators for 19 oblasts; 237 mobile boiler houses for hospitals and other social facilities; and 361 generators for bomb shelters, schools, kindergartens.


The Mission is exploring options to renovate 20 different facilities through USAID/Ukraine’s Economic Resilience Activity (ERA), such as old hotels and dormitories, to provide emergency housing. Through ERA implementing partner DAI, the Mission is looking to improve Ukraine’s modular housing production and has engaged several GOU ministries about whether to focus on renovating existing housing stock or providing new modular installations. USAID’s current development funding for long-term housing solutions falls far short of the needs, and USAID will need fresh funding if it is to play a more significant role in this area.

What Can You Do on Your Own?

Let’s Start with Where You Will Spend Winter and How to Avoid Heat Loss

If you live in a private house outside the city, and there is a stove, fireplace, or solid fuel boiler, it will be enough to stock up on the fuel that “feeds” your heat supply source (firewood, pellets, coal) in order to stay warm in the winter.

If the only source of heating in the house is a gas boiler, then in the absence of blue fuel and under the condition of a more or less stable supply of electricity, it will be possible to use electric heaters, if the building system allows it and you have reliable safety devices. However, it is advisable not to turn on the heater in each room, but rather to turn it on in the largest room and open the doors to other rooms, thus allowing for heat circulation. Such simple actions will help to avoid overloading the building network. Let’s act after careful consideration: if each of us connects several heaters to the common network, won’t we also cause a power outage due to the emergency we created? If there are no interruptions in the supply of natural gas, it should be consumed sparingly so that there is enough for both yourself and your neighbor.

If you have extra money, you can consider the possibility of purchasing a diesel or gasoline generator and fuel for it in your country house. The generator will help solve the problem of the lack of natural gas and electricity, once you stock up on fuel for it.

You can install a stove with the fuel long-burning function, which allows you to almost instantly create a comfortable temperature in the room due to the rapid burning of wood and the release of a large amount of heat, or to ensure long-term burning of fuel with maintaining a comfortable temperature in the room. Such stoves are quite compact, have a high level of efficiency – 70-85%, their installation does not require a specialized foundation, the stove can maintain a comfortable temperature in the room for 10 hours on one charge of fuel, allow you to significantly save firewood, and can be operated without repairs for 50 years. In addition, such stoves can be installed in almost any room with a chimney.

Both the house and the apartment will be warmer if you take care in advance to minimize heat loss. Carefully inspect the windows and doors in the apartment, and eliminate gaps through which heat can escape. You can fill some cracks and crevices yourself with sealant or construction foam, and to adjust window frames and door jambs you should invite a serviceman. There may be a need to insulate the entrance door or cover the outer walls of an apartment or private house with heat-conserving materials. A heat-saving film and dense curtains on the windows and heat-reflective screens behind the radiators will be useful (they can be made of foil or purchased ready-made in the store), as well as carpets on the floor and walls. A few degrees of heat saved by such simple actions will help. We will make it through the winter!

And by the way, if you have any tourist equipment (autonomous stove, thermos, sleeping bag, thermal underwear, warming bottle, solar battery lamp, and charger), all this can come in handy this winter. You can quickly cook hot food on a tourist stove with collet canisters both in your apartment and in the house. A thermos will help keep food or drink hot for a while. Canned vegetables and fruits are available in almost every Ukrainian family, you can also buy canned meat or fish, as well as fast food, in advance.


Almost everyone has chargers (power banks), they just need to be fully charged at the right moment. You should also consider alternative lighting sources: lamps and flashlights on batteries, etc.

Power outages can temporarily stop or limit the work of pharmacies, hospitals, shops, and banks. Therefore, it is worth buying the necessary medicines, drinking water, and food that does not require special storage conditions, as well as pet food in advance.

The main thing is not to panic! For almost seven months of operation in the war conditions, the Ukrainian energy system proved its ability to promptly restore the supply of water, heat, and electricity to the homes of Ukrainians. We will make it through the winter!