Vladimir Dzangirov, chairman of the Commonwealth of Independent States' electric power management committee, said energy producers and consumers seldom meet.
Dzangirov sympathized with workers in the energy sector in the region, who have asked the government for better salaries and working conditions.
"If a factory were to stop today, nobody would notice that. If a power plant halted operations, everybody would feel it," said Dzangirov.
He also said it would be a mistake for a state to think that domestic power production could be stopped and cheaper energy could be bought in neighboring countries.
In California, Dzangirov said, investments in power management development were curtailed in recent years, but as energy consumption grew, it became clear that it would be impossible to either buy or produce the necessary amount of energy.
The Russian expert said he thought the demands of Narva power workers for increased salaries were justified because their work was vital to the operations of other key enterprises.
Estonian power production should be versatile, according to Arvi Hamburg, a representative of the natural-gas company Eesti Gaas.
Along with oil-shale production, he said, producers should consider alternative means of production, including solar energy.
"The open electric-power market where any energy producer could sell his energy at equal conditions, is a solution for Estonia," said Hamburg.
The forum also chose Agu Laanemets, director of the local fish processor Viru Kalatoostus, as "Industrialist of the Year." County officials and representatives of the Estonian Union of Industry and Employers awarded the prize.
Laanemets said he was pleased the forum stuck to business issues and did not address the growing social problems in Narva, a hotbed of AIDS in Estonia.
"We often hear now about AIDS and crime, and I was afraid somebody would start whining at the forum. But on the contrary, the atmosphere was businesslike," said Laanemets.