Romania is halting electricity exports and limiting supplies to industrial consumers in a bid to meet rising household demand due to freezing temperatures, according to the government.

The decision, valid from February 16 to March 15, is meant as a precaution in case freezing temperatures continue to pressure energy resources, Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, the prime minister, said.

"First of all, there are currently no problems in providing electricity to households or industrial consumers, and this measure was taken as a precaution," Ungureanu said.

The decision was justified in case energy resources continue to fall if weather deteriorated throughout February.

The system is already facing a "substantial" electricity deficit as a drought late last year halved production in hydro power plants.

The cold and heavy snowfall has killed hundreds of people across Europe and temperatures in some eastern countries have plummeted to nearly minus 40 degrees Celsius.

In Romania, officials said five people died due to freezing temperatures in 24 hours, bringing the total to 79 weather-related deaths this season.

Heavy snowfall in recent days has blocked dozens of national and county roads, and 259 villages remained completely cut off on Tuesday. Roughly 31 villages were without electricity.

The worst February cold spell Europe has seen in decades may last until the end of the month, leading meteorologists said, raising the prospect of further deaths and an extended rise in European gas prices.

Source: Agencies