KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine said on Monday it had been forced to impose regular emergency blackouts in areas across the country after a setback in its race to repair energy infrastructure hit by Russian missile strikes.
Power units at several power stations had to conduct emergency shutdowns and demand for electricity has been rising as snowy winter weather has set in the capital and elsewhere, national grid operator Ukrenergo said in a statement.
"Once the causes of the emergency shutdowns are eliminated, the units will return to operation, which will reduce the deficit in the power system and reduce the amount of restrictions for consumers," it said.
DTEK, Ukraine's biggest private electricity producer, said it would reduce electricity supply by 60% for its consumers in Kyiv where temperatures are hovering around zero degrees Celsius (32°F).
Of the remaining supply, only 42% was left over for everyday consumers after critical infrastructure needs were accounted for, it said.
"We are doing everything possible to provide power to every customer for 2-3 hours twice a day," DTEK's Kyiv branch wrote on Facebook.
The national system's power capacity deficit had fallen to 27%, Ukrenergo said.
Moscow says its attacks on vital infrastructure are militarily legitimate, and that Kyiv can end the suffering of its people if it yields to Russian demands. Ukraine says attacks intended to cause civilian misery are a war crime.
(Reporting by Tom Balmforth and Max Hunder; editing by Timothy Heritage)