Ukraine's Naftogaz tells officials: don't turn the heating on too soon

KYIV, Oct 7 (Reuters) - The head of Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz criticised local authorities on Friday for turning on the heating too soon before what is likely to be a difficult winter following Russia's invasion.

"Warm and sunny weather in Kyiv. Daytime up to +19 (degrees Celsius/66 degrees Fahrenheit). It is only the beginning of October, and local authorities in Ukrainian cities make a decision to start the heating (season)," Yuriy Vitrenko wrote on Facebook.

"If heating facilities' workers bought gas at the market price and paid for it in full, it would be a different situation," he wrote.

Vitrenko said Naftogaz supplied gas to heating facilities at 7,400 hryvnias ($200) per 1,000 cubic meters, but the price of imported gas had reached 100,000 hryvnias ($2,708).

The war in Ukraine has wrought huge damage to the energy network as well as many residential areas, and officials fear Moscow could deliberately attack critical infrastructure when the frost sets in.

Officials are urging people to stock up on everything from firewood to electric generators and fear disruptions to the centralised home-heating season that are hard to prepare for because so many different things could go wrong.

Vitrenko said Naftogaz's gas output could cover all domestic consumption, and around 3 billion cubic meters of imported gas were supplied to the heating sector in 2021.

"Therefore, reducing the consumption of natural gas and saving it is a significant help to Ukraine. Weather conditions allow starting the heating season from November," Vitrenko said.

($1 = 36.9342 hryvnias)

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, editing by Timothy Heritage

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.