Russia will cut its delivery of electricity to Finland starting Saturday, RAO Nordic said Friday, which is a subsidiary of Russian state energy holding Inter RAO. It's calling the stoppage unprecedented.
"We are forced to suspend the electricity import starting from May 14," RAO Nordic said, explaining as the reason that it had yet to receive payment for volumes sold in May. "RAO Nordic is not able to make payments for the imported electricity from Russia."
"This situation is exceptional and happened for the first time in over 20 years of our trading history," RAO Nordic added.
The unprecedented stoppage comes immediately on the heels of Finland's prime minister and president in a joint announcement Thursday affirming the Scandinavian country's intent to apply for NATO membership. Sweden too has been coordinating with Helsinki over joining the Western military alliance.
Given Finland relies on Russia for 10% of its electricity supply, the stoppage is not expected to have significant effect - also as nuclear power accounts for over 35% of Finland's electricity needs among five operating nuclear reactors.
The Finnish electricity network operator said it has contingency plans in place:
"We're prepared for this and it won't be difficult. We can make do with a bit more imports from Sweden and Norway," Fingrid's manager for operational planning Timo Kaukonen told AFP.
While the stoppage is not directly due to Finland's stated intent to apply for NATO membership, which is expected to drive discussion among the 30-member alliance at its major summit in Madrid, Spain in June - most pundits say the timing to the drastic action seems intent on sending an obvious message:
Russia's move is officially related to payment issues and not to Finland's NATO membership but the coincidence in timing is striking. Sweden will recoup the difference, as Finland only gets 10% of its electricity from Russia. https://t.co/eM7X2EPSHo— Samuel Ramani (@SamRamani2) May 13, 2022
According to recent data from OilPrice.com, natural gas could eventually be next; however, it too is not heavily relied on by Helsinki - given Finland's diversified energy resources...
"Between 60% and 70% of Finland’s natural gas comes from Russia, though the country’s main sources of energy are oil, biomass and nuclear power, with natural gas representing only 5% of the total consumption," the report details. "According to the Finnish government, renewable energy surpassed fossil fuels and peat in total energy consumption in 2020, leaving the country less dependent on Russian energy sources."