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Page last updated at 12:54 GMT, Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Europeans feel the effects of gas cut-off

An Austrian hotel owner lights a gas stove, 6 January
The row between Russia and Ukraine has left a number of countries across Europe without supplies of Russian gas.

BBC readers in several countries have described how they are being affected by the shortages, which coincide with a period of exceptionally cold weather. Wednesday is Christmas Day in Eastern Orthodox countries.

BULGARIA

It was just news a few days ago, but today the reality hit us. We are going to the office well dressed as the central heating will be reduced to a minimum. Only the hospitals and the schools will be heated as usual. It was reported that the city's electricity grid was not designed to cope with the expected increased demand for electrical power to substitute the lack of gas. My anxiety is growing and I am not the only one. For the first time I feel how fragile our everyday life is and how much it depends on people who have got nothing to do with me and the people of my city.
George Dankov, Sofia

The situation is Bulgaria regarding the gas supplies from Russia seems to be a major problem now not only for commercial consumers, but also for households. TV and newspapers say that in the town of Varna already 12, 000 households do not have central heating, and news was released that in Sofia the central heating is also reduced. Today the prime minister and president said the situation is "critical". Just yesterday evening on the news the director of the Bulgarian state company "Bulgargaz" said that supplies cover the consumption in Bulgaria, and there are reserves. Today things turned out to be very different - news says that Bulgaria has gas supplies for only 4 days and all major industrial consumers in Bulgaria have sharply reduced or stopped production.
Nikolay Penkov, Sofia

I live in Sofia where people are one of the victims in this dispute between Russia and Ukraine. Like many apartments in Sofia, mine has central heating that is fuelled by natural gas from Russia. Today my flat went from 20 C to 15/16 C. I wonder what will happen if the situation continues. I can afford to buy an electric heater and pay for it, but I really worry about all the elderly people who cannot afford this. I hope Ukraine and Russia can solve this problem, or the situation will soon become really bad for many people in Bulgaria. President Purvanov is right about restarting the nuclear reactor. Bulgaria doesn't have a choice if the gas crisis situation continues. You can't let people freeze to death, and that reactor is the only solution Bulgaria has. Unless of course the Russians and Ukrainians come to a compromise.
Joseph, Sofia

I live in Bulgaria and right now the schools are sent into vacation due the lack of heat in the classrooms. The common people are receiving less heating in their homes. And the weather is so cold. The only long term solution, I think, is for Bulgaria to restart the nuclear reactors in Kozloduy and trade electricity for gas with Turkey via the Black Sea pipeline.
Alexander, Plovdiv

Many of the households here in Bulgaria are running on central heating which relies on gas. During the last two days the houses are getting colder, the tap water get colder too, as it is heated in the same way. In some parts of Sofia there is no heating at all, and today the electricity in my home was cut. How much more can we take?
Dimitar Rushkov, Sofia

BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA

The gas went off late yesterday (Tuesday), so we have no heating in the house and no hot water. It's -11 C outside and it's already only 14 degrees indoors, with the prospect of having a bitterly cold night. We are worried about our children, but I can't help thinking about the elderly. People may die if this continues for much longer.
Carey McIntosh, Sarajevo

Russian gas has been turned off to Bosnia and Hercegovina and the gas has already run out. Sarajevo no longer has any gas and the temperature is - 10 C. The next few days are expected to be similarly cold. The problem in Bosnia and Hercegovina is that there is no reserve. If and when gas is turned off, people go cold. To be sure, many people use alternative fuels, in particular wood, that they chop themselves. That is much cheaper. I am really not looking forward to the next few days.
Chris Bennett, Sarajevo

SERBIA

It's been very, very cold the past few weeks in Serbia and now this. Things are still alright, but we don't know what is going to happen tomorrow. It looks like it's going to be a cold Christmas for us. We are being assured that we have enough gas for 10 days, but I don't know if it's true. I hope this is going to end very soon.
Vanja, Belgrade

We have been affected badly in Serbia. The news that Serbia has a 10-day supply is not true as Serbia ran out of gas at midnight last night and our own production is not enough to get anything into the pipes. Serbia is now trying to get the central heating system to work on oil but certain heating stations can only work on natural gas so a number of towns in Serbia are now left without any heating and at the moment it is very, very cold.
Igor, Belgrade

We are told that Serbia's Srbijagas has about 10 days' of gas left. This is not true. I work for a local gas company and it is more like 10 hours left until we run out of gas. The most optimistic prediction is that we will run out of gas on 7th January, which is our Christmas!
Dejan

I'm a British Citizen living in Serbia. We lost our gas supply at midnight tonight due to the dispute and unlike some other countries, Serbia has no reserves. Its currently -15 C so everyone is going to switch to electric heaters. The huge influx could overload the power supply here so we could see blackouts and lose electricity too.
Zach Nicodemous

I live in Serbia and our government is telling us that we will no longer have any gas. The expected temperature during the night is -16 C. I and many other people have no alternative heating system, but only a gas heating. I do not know how to warm my flat so that my 10 month old daughter does not get a cold or something even worse. Ukraine is holding half of Europe its hostage, while pretending to be a democratic country. If they cannot pay for Russian gas, that is very unfortunate, but it is their problem. By stealing Russian gas flowing to Europe, they obviously want to make it a European problem. Europe should do something - millions of people could freeze.
Sasa Markovic, Novi Sad

I am very concerned. I am a resident of the city of Novi Sad, the capital of the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina and the second largest city in Serbia. It is now certain that the 100,000 inhabitants of Novi Sad will awake in the morning in cold homes. Serbia has exhausted its gas supplies. Local officials are talking about a possible deal between Russia and Ukraine tomorrow. Whether it's true or our politicians lie to us - I don't know. In any case, cold mornings without heating for one third of the inhabitants of Novi Sad and several towns in Vojvodina is certain.
Alexander Dedjanski, Novi Sad

Just minutes after the national TV announced the complete cut of Russian gas supply, the temperature in my centrally-heated apartment dropped by five degrees. As current temperature in Belgrade is - 8 C, my first impulse was to turn on the electric heating, but the electric company warned consumers to avoid doing that. Furthermore, it's Christmas. The neighborhood electricity transformer will get overloaded and my family will stay without electricity and heating for several hours. But the big problem is for those with small children.
Aleksandar Antic, Belgrade

ROMANIA
Since Romania stopped receiving gas from Russia, the industry got affected and it is now using alternative fuels. But some cities don't have the possibility of alternative heating and thermal agent temperature has dropped to 40 C, which is not enough for heating the homes.
Bogdan, Sibiu



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