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Thursday's papers: Cheaper power possible, border fence plans, severe flu season ahead

The Finnish Border Guard says that building a fence along critical parts of the eastern border is necessary due to changes in Finland's security situation.

Falling gas prices and stormy weather forecasts are pushing electricity price estimates down, Helsingin Sanomat reports. Image: Esa Syväkuru / Yle

Households in Finland could get some relief regarding electricity bills this winter, the country's largest circulating daily, Helsingin Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) (HS), writes.

Energy firm Vattenfall told HS that changes in the price of gas have affected the electricity price forecast, pushing estimates down.

"The price of gas has been falling throughout September and the price of electricity has come down in Germany. In the Nordic countries, however, prices did not drop in September, because there was so little rain," Senior Portfolio Manager Juho Kinni told the paper.

Meteorologists have forecast a rainier and windier autumn and winter this year, which would translate into more affordable hydroelectric and wind power.

Nonetheless, great uncertainty still looms over markets. Firms are shying away from a derivative exchange, which largely depends on future output and acts as a sort of lock on future prices. Thus, it is hard to predict for certain what the electricity price tag will look like in winter, HS concludes.

Finland-Russia border fence plans

The Finnish Border Guard has provided a glimpse of what the proposed partial border fence between Russia and Finland could look like, reports Etelä-Saimaa (siirryt toiseen palveluun), based in the border city of Lappeenranta. The published image suggests a barrier fence that is a few meters high, with barbed wire on top as well as surveillance cameras.

With Russo-Finland relations uncertain and the national security situation becoming increasingly difficult, pressure to construct a border fence has been mounting. Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) said on Monday that she thought there are grounds for the construction of fencing along critical parts of the eastern border, as a way to enhance border surveillance.

The Border Guard has suggested that between 130 and 260 kilometres of the total 1,300-kilometre-long eastern border be fenced off, according to Etelä-Saimaa. Most of the fence would be built along the border in Southeastern Finland, where border traffic is busier and the risk of illegal entry is more significant, according to the paper.

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Universities cashing in

Finnish universities have succeeded in securing some 70 million euros in private donations this year, reports Ilkka-Pohjalainen (siirryt toiseen palveluun).

The University of Helsinki received the most donations, totalling roughly 11.5 million euros, with Aalto University coming in second with 7.4 million euros. The University of Jyväskylä collected the third highest amount of donations, some 7.2 million euros, according to the paper.

Bad coughing-and-sneezing season ahead

Private social and healthcare services provider Mehiläinen warns of a potentially intense flu season this year, tabloid Ilta-Sanomat (siirryt toiseen palveluun) (IL) writes.

Influenza has hardly circulated at all in the Finnish population in the past three years, meaning that people may have weak or non-existent immunity against the disease. This could strengthen the virus and allow it to spread more widely, Helsinki and Uusimaa Hospital District (HUS) Chief Physician Asko Järvinen told IL.

The flu season typically begins in December and peaks during the turn of the year. There is no reason to expect the season to begin earlier, according to Järvinen.

At the moment, Covid is still circulating widely in the Finnish population, although most cases are mild, Järvinen said.

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