ROMANIA: A financial problem over outstanding bills has seen power cut off at railway premises in the south of the country. Infrastructure manager CFR rep­ortedly owes €160m to various electricity companies, including €44m to the local subsidiary of Czech supplier CEZ. CFR blames a shortfall in state funding, which meant that money intended to pay the electricity bills had to be used for other purposes.

CEZ Romania announced in May that it was cutting supplies to 58 stat­ions, warehouses and workshops. It said it was making the move as a symbolic gesture after numerous attempts to persuade the railway authorities to start paying off the outstanding debt. It said the locations had been agreed with CFR so that the safety of rail operations would not be jeopardised.

According to CFR's Regional Manager Dorel Ciuca, the debt had been allowed to accumulate over several years, despite discussions between the railway and the Ministry of Finance. 'CFR in Craiova can barely pay our other suppliers, so paying off a debt of this size is beyond us', he pointed out.

A month later power had been res­tored to Craiova station, but CEZ spokes­person Iulia Borsan said it would stay off at the other sites until CFR agreed a rolling programme for paying off the debt - this has been requested by the end of July.