Russia to cut electricity to Finland from Saturday

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MOSCOW (AFP, REUTERS) - Russia will suspend electricity supplies to Finland this weekend, a supplier said on Friday (May 13) as tensions rise over Helsinki's Nato bid following the war in Ukraine.

"We are forced to suspend the electricity import starting from May 14," RAO Nordic, a subsidiary of Russian state energy holding Inter RAO said in a statement, adding that it had not received payment for volumes sold in May.

"RAO Nordic is not able to make payments for the imported electricity from Russia," the statement added.

"This situation is exceptional and happened for the first time in over 20 years of our trading history," RAO Nordic said, hoping the situation would "soon" improve and the trade could resume.

Finnish grid company Fingrid said the cutoff will commence from Saturday at 0100 local time (Friday at 2200 GMT, Saturday at 6am SGT).

“There is no threat to the adequacy of electricity in Finland,” the grid said, adding that power from Russia accounted for some 10 per cent of Finland’s total power consumption.

“Missing imports can be replaced in the electricity market by importing more electricity from Sweden and partly also by domestic production,” it added.  

Fingrid said Nord Pool, the pan-European power exchange, had not paid Inter RAO since May 6 for electricity it bought from the Russian utility.  

“Nord Pool is the one paying for them. Fingrid is not a party in this electricity trade, we provide the transfer connection from Russia to Finland,” Mr Reima Paivinen, Fingrid’s senior-vice president for operations, told Reuters.  

A spokesman for Nord Pool said the company did not comment market information that customers have reported via urgent market messages (UMM). 

On Thursday, Finland's leaders declared their nation must apply to join Nato "without delay" - a seismic change in policy since Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on Feb 24.

The Kremlin has warned Russia would "definitely" see Finnish membership as a threat, while the Russian foreign ministry said Moscow would be "forced to take reciprocal steps, military-technical and other, to address the resulting threats".

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