With temperatures falling as low as -30 at night in Ukraine during the cold spell, experts claim gas vital for keeping warm is being wasted.
Poor insulation in homes and buildings makes heating inefficient. The substandard conditions are being blamed on a failure to modernise the country’s Soviet-era energy infrastructure.
During this particularly harsh weather, power is being rationed because it is so expensive.
The cost of heating is an especially bitter pill to swallow when measurements show poor insulation is causing 78 per cent of energy to be lost into the atmosphere.
Better efficiency would stop Ukraine’s need for imported gas, according to energy saving expert from the Pauce Foundation Svyatolslav Pavlyuk.
“If we cut the consumption of natural gas for heating in the public sector in half – and these figures are realistic – then Ukraine could do without gas imports at all. And we would have about 5 billion cubic meters left, which could be transferred to the needs of the economy,” he said.
Gas subsidies to the public cost the Ukrainian government billions of euros a year and are the reason the International Monetary Fund has stalled the country’s bailout of nearly 12 billion euros.
“Despite growing energy prices, the residential sector energy consumption hasn’t changed. It is exactly at the same level as it was 20 years ago. So there is huge room for savings. Savings of 50 per cent are easily achievable,” said Grzegorz Gajda, a Project Manager at the International Finance Corporation.
Earlier in the week, Russian company Gazprom accused Ukraine of taking a higher amount of gas from pipelines passing through the country than had been agreed in the contract – an accusation which Ukraine denies.