This is the third story in a three-part series about staying warm this winter. Read part one: How to beat rising household energy costs and part two: Winter misery for the most vulnerable.
A noisy gasoline generator kicks into action outside a series of high-rise apartment buildings in Kiev. The streets buzz with the sounds of backup power systems all buzzing to keep the Ukrainian capital running.
It’s early February and the monolithic white and beige buildings, shrouded in darkness, begin to light up moment by moment as electricity flows through the buildings.
On one of the top floors, reached by a rickety, claustrophobic elevator, lives Viktoria Beliakova, a 35-year-old financial advisor; her husband, Valentyn Hlyboky, a 38-year-old IT specialist; and their 12-year-old daughter, Vlada.