Saturday, December 20, 2014

A dark December

These are some of the longest nights of the year, and this winter we are certainly feeling the darkness of those long nights. On a normal day, the lights usually go out around 5pm and come back on around 7pm. Along with the sun, we prepare to say bye to the lights just after sunset.

As you may have already assumed, the power outages continue.

We've begun to rearrange our lives because of the constant power outages. We keep candles all around the house. There's no sense in putting them away because tomorrow will just bring another blackout. We try to finish dinner before five so that we can settle in and relax once the lights are turned off.

When the lights are on, whenever that is, I make it a priority to do lesson planning because you can never know when the lights will go out again.

We have been doing our best to conserve as much power as we can. At night we usually have two lights on, and each bulb takes five watts (10 total). Add that to the 60 watts that our laptop takes (along with the watt or so consumed by the modem) and we burn about 70-75 watts in the evenings.We do not use a refrigerator, and we heat our house using wood burning stoves.

While our power consumption is pretty modest, it turns out that Ukrainian homes consume about 30 percent of all power produced in Ukraine (compared to 22 percent in the United States). Hopefully this will be a wake up call for ordinary people to chip in and do their part to conserve the little energy there is to go around.

On the other hand, I do sympathize with one commenter in the article I cited above. He questions the piece and says that the comparison of domestic energy consumption to other sectors is not appropriate because other parts of the economy have been "decimated." He's also right that, in comparison to US houses, Ukrainian homes are much smaller and have old, thin cables running to them that cannot handle much power: "I want you to go into your house and put everything on a single 25 amp breaker!" Many people already use very little power because that is what they've always done, so it's hard to expect them to use less.

The answer will probably have to come from both personal responsibility and the energy producers' ability to generate power. These are difficult times, but Yulia and I are hoping for the best in the long run.

The war in Donas is distant, but its effects are still noticeable even here deep in western Ukraine. First we heard stories of boys being sent to the east to fight, never to come back. Then the currency plummeted. Now this. How much more can Ukraine take?

1 comment:

  1. A good blog article about some not so good news. Makes me think of the expression "More Power to the People"....both in it's more typical meaning, in relation to Euromaiden and certain outcomes, but also in this present energy crisis and the desires, needs of the Ukrainian populace.