- BBC News World
Russian energy company RAO Nordic announced on Friday that it would suspend electricity supplies to Finland from Saturday, citing payment problems.
According to the company, it has not been paid for previous deliveries.
The Finnish grid operator, Vingrid, said that Russia supplies only a small percentage of the electricity consumed in the country and it can be replaced by other sources.
Thursday Russia threatened Finland with retaliation for its moves to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
According to a statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry, the Scandinavian country’s moves will seriously harm its bilateral relations, as well as the security and stability of Northern Europe.
Finland shares a 1,300 km border with Russia and has stayed out of NATO so as not to antagonize its eastern neighbor.
However, since Russia invaded Ukraine in February, popular support has increased in the Scandinavian country for joining NATO.
Finland is expected to officially announce its plan to join the military alliance on Sunday..
But RAO Nordic’s decision to cut off electricity was not explicitly linked to that.
“This is an exceptional situation and is happening for the first time in 20 years of commercial history,” the Russian state-owned company said.
Neither RAO Nordic nor Fingrid explained the cause of the payment problems.
Russia last month cut off gas supplies to Bulgaria and Poland after they refused to comply with a demand for payment in rubles, something they said runs counter to Western sanctions.
Russia’s state-owned Gazprom announced this week that it will stop supplying gas through the Polish part of the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline.
Fingrid said Friday that RAO Nordic’s decision is not expected to lead to cutbacks in the country, since Only 10% of Finland’s electricity comes from Russia.
“The lack of electricity imported from Russia will be compensated for by importing more from Sweden and generating more in Finland,” explained Rima Bavenen, Vice President of Power System Operations at Fingrid.
On the other hand, as temperatures rise as spring progresses, the demand for electricity decreases. It is also expected that more wind power will be generated.
Weingrid added that the nuclear power plant, expected to open this summer, will more than offset the loss of Russian supplies.
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