September 6, 2012 / 10:49 AM / 7 years ago

UPDATE 1-Fingrid to raise prices by around 15 pct in 2013

* Hike to hit energy-intensive industries such as steel

* Fingrid plans smaller price hike in 2014

* Electricity imports from Russia in decline (Adds CEO quotes, details on imports)

HELSINKI, Sept 6 (Reuters) - Finnish grid operator Fingrid said it would raise prices by around 15 percent from the beginning of next year to offset its higher costs and investments, which could hurt energy-intensive businesses such as in steel and timber.

The price hike, which could lift costs for companies such as steelmaker Outokumpu and paper company Stora Enso , follows a 30 percent rise in 2012.

Fingrid Chief Executive Jukka Ruusunen told a news conference that another price rise will follow in 2014 but that it will be smaller than the increase in 2013.

The grid company estimates it will spend some 1.7 billion euros ($2.1 billion) between 2012-2022 on strengthening the grid and participating in a project to build a subsea link to Estonia.

Finland consumes more electricity than it produces. In the first half of this year, the country imported around 22 percent of the total 43.5 terawatt hours of power it consumed.

Russia was previously Finland’s biggest external electricity supplier, but it has been supplanted by Sweden due to its supplies of cheap hydropower while Russian prices are higher, the company said.

“Imports from Russia will remain at a lower level in the future ... But if we had a dry year in hydropower, then it would make sense to import it from Russia,” Ruusunen said.

Finland’s imports of electricity from Russia fell to 2.6 terawatt hours in January-June from 6.1 TWh in the same period a year ago. ($1 = 0.7935 euros) (Reporting by Terhi Kinnunen; editing by Jane Baird)

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