Bucharest - Romanian power producers will sell electricity to neighbouring Moldova at a capped price under exceptional circumstances triggered by the war in Ukraine, Energy Minister Virgil Popescu said on Thursday.

Romania, a small country of 2.6 million sandwiched between Ukraine and the European Union, has seen its economy hit by soaring energy prices and the war, including the need to support tens of thousands of refugees.

Moldova urged citizens on Wednesday to cut back on electricity during peak times due to a big shortfall in supplies after Ukraine suspended exports after Russian missiles hit its energy network.

Romanian power producers can sign bilateral agreements to sell electricity - if available - at 450 lei ($88.62) per megawatt hour to traders and suppliers endorsed by the Moldovan government, Popescu said.

"The electricity sold under these circumstances exclusively covers Moldovan final (household) consumers," Popescu said.

Romanian state hydropower producer Hidroelectrica had signed a contract for 100 MW with Moldova's Energocom, with deliveries set to begin on Thursday, he added.

That contract is an addition to Romania's own energy support scheme, which has been in place since November and modified several times since then.

Under the scheme, set to run until September 2023, Romania caps gas and power bills for households and other clients up to certain monthly consumption levels, compensating suppliers for the difference.

On Wednesday, the government approved a separate compensation scheme for large industrial users worth about 1.5 billion euros. ($1 = 5.0776 lei)

(Reporting by Luiza Ilie)