Kyiv has passed the most difficult heating season and we are already preparing for the next one, – Petro Panteleev

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Kyiv ends the heating season in the conditions of war. Despite the large-scale shelling of infrastructural facilities, which became one of the main targets for the enemy during the winter, the city not only withstood, but also built up a margin of strength and effective solutions in response to critical situations.

Development and manufacture of mobile mobile boiler rooms for hospitals and heating stations, providing a network of pump stations with generators to create a backup source of drinking water, prompt switching of boiler rooms to alternative power sources in the event of a power outage. “Evening Kyiv” asked about the peculiarities of the military winter in the capital and preparations for the next one Deputy Chairman of the Kyiv City State Administration Petro Panteleev.

— Mr. Petro, the other day the mayor of Kyiv Vitaliy Klitschko announced that the city made a decision to end the heating season, focusing on the weather and the need to save energy. How long will the process of disconnection from the heat last, and has this been affected by technical damage as a result of shelling?

— Disconnection of buildings from heat will last up to several days, which is due to technological requirements. In autumn and winter, thermal power facilities in the capital were subjected to more than a dozen massive attacks using rockets and drones.

The level of damage is different for different elements of the heat supply system, but thanks to the prompt work of Kyiv specialists, it was possible to minimize their consequences. Therefore, we are now planning to finish the current season and on the same day, in fact, start preparing for the next one.

Completion of heat supply to houses will take about a week

— Tell us how the preparation went last year, because the war caused a shortage of workers, a shortage of fuel, and technical materials, not to mention constant risks. Did the city authorities simulate options for possible events and responses to them?

— Preparation for the winter took place under the direction of the relevant headquarters, with the participation of energy workers, gas, heat, and water supply organizations, rescuers, transport services, and, of course, the military. Even then, understanding the global nature of possible disasters, we tried to take into account all the details and consequences. We developed 11 key possible scenarios of events with possible damage to communications and equipment, including the worst options. It was important to prepare the city economy, personnel at critical infrastructure facilities, and citizens as much as possible. At the same time, prevent panic waves.

Precisely, modeling the development of events, we made a number of, let’s say, non-standard decisions in advance. Among them are modular mobile boiler houses, the design and production of which, together with the capital’s power engineers and engineers, began back in the summer. In critical situations, they ensured heating of those objects that cannot be left without heat – hospitals, maternity homes, etc. They were produced at Ukrainian enterprises in a short time.

Such units are not used abroad, so this is our Kyiv innovation, which can be replicated throughout Ukraine. Mobile boiler rooms absolutely justified themselves.

For example, in the Oleksandrivska hospital, which was heated with the help of such boilers continuously for three days. Municipal enterprise “Kyivteploenergo” has already purchased 12 units, another 11 are in the process of production. In total, we plan to have at our disposal 30 such mobile boiler rooms.

I also want to note the good experience of restoring damaged equipment. We are talking about a modular stationary gas boiler house, which was quickly manufactured, assembled and put into operation last year in Puscha-Vodytsia in one of the social institutions of Kyiv, instead of the one destroyed by shelling in the spring of 2022.

Its capacity is almost 2 MW. Energy-saving equipment is fully automated, the efficiency ratio is 93%, which means that it allows you to significantly save energy resources.

— How difficult was it to ensure coordination, given that many people had to leave or were there those who were not ready to work effectively in the realities of war? What instructions were given to the managers to motivate the staff, because the additional load fell on them?

— We all experienced a state of shock in February-March 2022. But we had to pull ourselves together and work. All key housing and communal services and their managers remained in place and adapted the work of the city’s life support system to the new conditions.

There was no panic or refusal to work, no one was persuaded. Moreover, the workload on specialists has also increased because many workers in the communal sector have joined the ranks of the Armed Forces and Teroborona. Those who remained began to work for themselves and for their colleagues who went to defend our lands and our security. These are obvious things and no one needed to explain them.

Thanks to all the employees of the field, who acted harmoniously and with understanding. None of the energy workers, employees of ZHEK or waste carriers hesitated even after the arrival of enemy missiles, people immediately went to the facilities and did their work.

I would like to note the colossal cohesion and interaction at all levels — city, state, private enterprises, everyone insured each other with equipment, people, and equipment.

Energy experts say that after the power outages of some energy facilities this winter, they had to start the local heating season again and again…

— In fact, yes, because we had to, in fact, restart the entire heat supply system. In some cases, this problem was solved thanks to generators. And thanks to the people of Kyiv, who treated with great patience the cases when, due to damage to objects, it was necessary to temporarily stop the heat supply in the home.

In addition, frequent power outages had a negative effect, from a technical point of view, on equipment that should function continuously and stably. Together with DTEK “Kyivski Elektromerezhi” it was possible to reduce to a minimum the number of thermal power plants that remained without electricity. Some of them were supplied with high-power generators.

— In this aspect, Kyiv received tremendous support from international partners, who do not stop redirecting the necessary equipment, emergency rescue vehicles and equipment, work equipment, etc. To what extent is the need for alternative power sources covered today?

Our city received unprecedented donor assistance from twin cities — Munich, Prague, Budapest, Vilnius, Riga, Odense (Denmark), Tampere (Finland), international financial organizations — USAID, UNICEF, UNDP, Rotary Club “Kyiv”, Charity organization ” Charitable Foundation “International Association for the Support of Ukraine”, BF “Darnychany” (generators from the Government of Taiwan), members of the Association “Euroheat & Power”, Society of the Red Cross – medical assistance and trainings and many other partners of ours.

Currently, 62% of KTE heat sources are equipped with generators. Boiler houses were equipped with generators gradually as equipment was provided by international donors. We can talk about tangible qualitative changes for customers from about mid-January, when the level of equipping boiler houses with generators reached 40% and they continued to arrive systematically.

We are not stopping the program of providing generators for small boiler houses, because the new heating season is ahead, and we need to build up the reserve of sustainability of the utility industry. For the next winter period, the city will increase the number of generators to ensure uninterrupted operation of water supply stations, pumps, and other facilities.

— Despite overcoming the consequences of enemy attacks, Kyivteploenergo crews constantly eliminated emergency situations on pipelines. How many such accidents were there?

During the current heating season, the emergency crews of “Kyivteploenergo”, our largest heat supplier, eliminated almost five thousand damages to heating networks. Last season, this figure was not fundamentally different, since the vast majority of damage was detected during operation and was not related to the arrival of enemy missiles.

In addition, we replaced the heating networks in all areas where there were arrivals. Thanks to USAID’s program of international technical assistance to the Energy Security Project, more than 11 km of heating networks damaged by rocket fire were replaced in four districts of Kyiv. The Polish company Logstor International provided us with high-quality components and pipelines with the lowest level of heat loss to replace the emergency section on the territory of the Vydrad massif. In general, even in wartime conditions, we managed to replace more than 50 km of emergency heating networks.

— How will the preparations for the new cold period proceed?

— Schedules of global repairs have already been approved, which this year, due to the shelling situation, will take place on a larger scale. Of course, hydraulic tests of heating networks will also begin, without which it is impossible to do. The traditional replacement of old heating lines with new ones that will last several decades without repair is planned.

We are currently working separately on the concept of modernization of the capital’s energy supply as a response to the challenges of wartime. We will implement it step by step, because under any conditions and circumstances the issue of total protection of critical infrastructure objects is basic. The construction of new or reconstruction of existing elements of the systems will be carried out exclusively taking into account the increase in defensive strength.

Photo by Borys Korpusenko

Kateryna NOVOSVITNYA

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