Finland was preparing for Russia to cut off electricity supplies early today due to its failure to pay the provider.
Russian state-owned power firm Inter RAO will stop exports because it has not been paid for energy sold via the pan-European exchange Nord Pool since May 6. No reason was given for the non-payment.
It comes as Finland prepares for Moscow to cut gas supplies in retaliation for the country making moves to join Nato.
Finnish subsidiary RAO Nordic said in a statement: ‘This situation is exceptional and happened for the first time in over 20 years of our trading history.’
Electricity imports were to be halted from 1am local time (11pm BST yesterday) ‘for the time being’, Finnish grid operator Fingrid said in a statement.
Fingrid added that there was no threat to supplies and power from Russia made up 10 per cent of Finland’s consumption.
The operator said: ‘Missing imports can be replaced in the electricity market by importing more electricity from Sweden and also by domestic production.’
Asked whether payments had been required to be made in Russian roubles, a spokesman said: ‘We have never had settlements in roubles, only in euros, Norwegian crowns, Swedish crowns and Danish crowns.’
The Kremlin said Finland’s push for Nato membership would ‘definitely’ be seen as a threat by Russia. The Russian foreign ministry said Moscow would be ‘forced to take reciprocal steps, military-technical and other, to address the resulting threats’.
Ministers are planning for potential shutdowns and food shortages. Finland imports most of its gas from Russia but gas accounts for just 5 per cent of the country’s annual energy consumption.