Ukraine grid operator steps up rolling blackouts in some regions

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine's national grid operator said on Saturday it would step up rolling blackouts in Kyiv and seven Ukrainian regions in response to what it said was increased electricity consumption.

The power grid has been targeted by Russian air strikes in recent weeks and energy providers have resorted to planned power cuts to avoid overloads and to allow infrastructure to be repaired.

"Temporary controlled restrictions on all categories of consumers are necessary to reduce the load on networks, support the sustainable balancing of the energy system and avoid repeated accidents," Ukrenergo said.

It did not specify how long the blackouts would last but called on Ukrainians to conserve energy particularly during the morning and evening hours.

(Reporting by Dan Peleschuk; Editing by David Holmes)