Russian state-owned utility Inter RAO will stop exporting electricity to Finland from Saturday because it has not been paid, the company's Finnish subsidiary said on Friday.
Inter RAO has not received payments for electricity sold via pan-European power exchange Nord Pool since May 6, the subsidiary said, without giving any reason.
"This situation is exceptional and happened for the first time in over twenty years of our trading history," RAO Nordic, said in a statement.
Power imports to Finland will be halted from 1 a.m. local time on Saturday (2200 GMT on Friday) "for the time being," Finnish grid operator Fingrid said in a separate statement, citing RAO Nordic.
Fingrid added there was no threat to Finnish supplies and that power from Russia accounted for some 10% of Finland's total consumption.
"Missing imports can be replaced in the electricity market by importing more electricity from Sweden and also by domestic production," it said.
Fingrid three weeks ago prepared for the prospect of Russia cutting electricity flows to Finland by restricting the transmission capacity by a third.
Fingrid said RAO Nordic had told it that it would halt imports because it had problems receiving payments from Nord Pool.
"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," Reima Paivinen, Fingrid's senior-vice president for operations, told Reuters.
The halted payments were also reported through urgent market messages (UMMs) used by market participants to share information.
A spokesperson for Nord Pool said the company did not comment on information reported in UMMs.
Asked whether payments had been required to be made in roubles, the spokesperson told Reuters: "We have never had settlements in roubles, only in euros, Norwegian crowns, Swedish crowns and Danish crowns, in line with our standard procedures."
Speaking generally, the spokesperson said Nord Pool was "a safe counter party for all its customers" and that it always settled the trades.