Coal-rich Ukraine turned into an importer of the fuel this year as Russia's war against the country interrupted supplies from Donbas to the nation's power plants. The country needs up to 12 million tons to see it through until April, but only has 1.2 million left, said Ivan Plachkov, head of the supervisory board at Kyivenergo - an electricity supplier that is a part of Rinat Akmetov's DTEK energy empire.
"Prospects are not encouraging… They are alarming," Plachkov said during a 18 December 2014 roundtable discussion. He stressed that the lack of anthracite, a high quality coal produced in the Donbas, is especially critical.
Dmytro Sakharchuk, head of DTEK's anti-crisis group, said Ukrainian power plants should get coal from the war-torn Donbas even if it requires negotiations with the separatists. South African coal, that the government wanted to rely on, is too expensive, given its low quality, Sakharchuk added.
"The simplest option for the government is to receive coal from the Donbas. For some reason we are looking at other, more expensive options that don’t fit our budget right now," he said.
"It's necessary to negotiate with the representatives," Sakharchuk added. "We do not have a different option."
Meanwhile, Kyivenergo's Plachkov criticised the government's energy policy led by a newly appointed Minister Mykhaylo Demchyshyn for low professionalism.
"Today the government is not fulfilling its functions in relation to the functioning of the energy sector," emphasised Plachkov.
Yurii Sakva, deputy head of the All-Ukrainian Energy Assembly, an industry association, said the current electricity tariffs are too low. "Such prices do not exist anywhere else," he commented.
Sakva proposed raising the tariffs by approximately five times, so a unit of electricity would cost Hr 1.5 instead of a current price of Hr 0.31.
Prices for the power supplies are more expensive throughout the region – in countries like Belarus, Moldova and Russia.
Only by making the consumer pay for what they use can we persuade them to consume less, added Sakva.
Edited from source by Joe Green
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