"Following an upward market in 2018, commodity prices in the first quarter of 2019 were generally on a higher level than a year earlier. During the first quarter, however, prices fluctuated and decreased slightly, reflecting some macro uncertainty in the market. With the exception of coal, most commodity prices have recovered in the beginning of the second quarter. At the beginning of the year, Nordic hydro reservoirs were below normal levels, but the situation improved clearly during the quarter.
The first-quarter results were impacted by two main drivers: higher power prices and lower hydro production volumes. The Generation segment's Nordic hedge price for 2019 is clearly above last year’s level, and with the spot prices in the first quarter also above last year's prices, the achieved power price for the Generation segment increased by 14%. Unfortunately, the low reservoir levels at the beginning of the quarter negatively affected our hydro production, offsetting almost all of the positive effect of the higher power prices.
The Consumer Solutions segment showed a clear result improvement, partly due to improved margins and partly due to favourable market conditions in the quarter that temporarily increased profitability. The City Solutions segment improved its result mainly due to improved performance of the recycling and waste business. The result of the Russia segment improved, measured in roubles, but suffered from the unfavourable rouble-euro exchange rate.
We have continued to implement our strategy with a current focus on operational excellence to maintain our benchmark performance. The internal work to identify improvement areas continues and, based on current analysis, we see potential for improvements with an annual result effect in the tens of millions. Cash flow optimisation and capital expenditure prioritisation continue to be at the top of our agenda, in order to strengthen the balance sheet. In February, we successfully issued a EUR 2.5 billion bond at competitive prices, reaffirming market confidence in Fortum. The bond proceeds were used to repay the Uniper acquisition financing facility from last year and a maturing higher-cost bond. The refinancing resulted in a more balanced debt maturity profile.
In line with our strategy, we have also continued the focused growth in the power value chain. In India, Fortum won the right to build a 250-megawatt solar plant in Rajasthan. In Finland, Fortum's 90-megawatt Kalax wind power project was approved for the Finnish national renewables scheme. The granted premium in the Finnish scheme is very low, which supports our projection that wind power in the Nordics is becoming competitive in its own right and that no new support schemes are needed.
In February, we were pleased to re-start discussions with Uniper in order to establish in earnest how our companies can work together. The discussions in the various work streams have proceeded well. As we believe a thorough process is required to look at all the possibilities in detail, it will still take some time before we have tangible results to share.
Over the quarter, we have been engaged in discussions with our stakeholders about Fortum’s climate commitments and the impact of our energy production. We welcome the opportunities for dialogue on the ways by which Europe can transition to low-carbon energy production in the decades ahead. Fortum is one of Europe's lowest emitting utilities and our European production fleet of today is very much in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. We support the net-zero emissions target for 2050. Consequently, Fortum targets to report along the guidelines of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures as part of the 2019 annual reporting package. We will also continue to encourage European leaders to seek a common path to implementing the transition to a carbon-neutral society in a controlled manner, without compromising the security of supply. On this quest, further strengthening and broadening of the EU emissions trading scheme is key."