Ukraine faces a second winter of lengthy power outages amid relentless Russian missile and drone attacks that have left parts of the energy system more vulnerable than a year ago.
Thousands of engineers have toiled over the summer months to repair broken equipment, and better air defences could help mitigate the impact of the war as temperatures begin to drop.
But there has been neither the money nor the time to complete preparations for the winter, meaning more long nights without light, heat and water for millions of Ukrainians and more suffering too for businesses and the wider economy.
“A lot (of effort) has gone to just repairing what has been destroyed. And have we been able to build an additional resilience? Are we in a better position than last winter? I don’t think so,” said Marcus Lippold, an energy team leader at the European Union’s enlargement arm.
“It’s been a big effort, it’s been successful, but it needs to continue,” he said in Brussels this week.
Ukraine accuses Russia of deliberately destroying energy installations to inflict maximum suffering on ordinary people, a charge Moscow denies. It says it does not target civilians, only military facilities.