Baltics would switch to European grid in a day if Russia cuts power - Lithuania

VILNIUS, July 13 (Reuters) - European power grid network ENTSO-E will connect to the Baltic states' grids within 24 hours if the countries were to be disconnected by Russia, Lithuanian power grid operator Litgrid said.

"If Russia disconnects us, even today, we would be ready. Our analysis shows that power supply would not be rationed, no serious disruptions expected," Litgrid Chief Executive Rokas Masiulis told a news conference on Wednesday.

"Our agreement with European operators is that we get synchronised within 24 hours," he said.

ENTSO-E did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

In June, sources told Reuters European grid operators were ready to implement immediately a long-term plan to bring the Baltic states, which rely on the Russian grid for electricity, into the European Union system if Moscow cuts them off. read more

Concern about depending on Moscow for any form of energy has mounted across Europe after Russia reduced gas supplies to some countries following its invasion of Ukraine. read more

Masiulis said Lithuania was aiming for an agreement to decouple the Baltic States from the Russian power grid in early 2024, compared to a previous plan for end-2025.

He said governmental discussions with Estonia and Latvia on the matter had started, and that the European Commission was also involved. The Latvian and Estonian governments did not immediately comment.

Masiulis also said an underwater power link between Poland and Lithuania can only be completed in 2027-2028, not in 2025 as previously planned, due to shortage of materials.

Three decades after splitting from the former Soviet Union and 17 years since joining the European Union, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania still depend on Russia to ensure stable power supplies.

A project backed by 1.6 billion euros ($1.61 billion) of EU funding to upgrade their infrastructure is in place to disconnect them from the grid by 2025.

The Russian and Continental European systems both operate at a frequency of 50 Hertz, but while the Russian system is run from Moscow, the continental European grids are decentralised, meaning each national grid operator is responsible for maintaining the stability of its system.

($1 = 0.9958 euros)

Writing by Stine Jacobsen and Andrius Sytas; Editing by Anna Ringstrom and Jan Harvey

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