National Power to axe 200 jobs with closure

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NATIONAL Power, the UK's largest electricity generator, is to close Thorpe Marsh power station in South Yorkshire with the loss of 200 jobs.

The closure of the 1098 megawatt plant, which burns coal, follows a warning from the company that it will have to shut down up to 3,000 megawatts of older capacity over the next few years.

The increased use of gas for electricity generation and the rising market share of nuclear power are putting pressure on the existing coal-fired and oil-fired power stations. National Power has withdrawn 6,000 megawatts of plant from service since 1990 and has reduced its workforce by 10,000 to 7,400 in that time. At least 1,000 more jobs are likely to be shed through cuts at the plants and among white-collar staff.

The company intends to build new stations on combined cycle gas turbine technology. These are cleaner and more efficient than coal- and oil- fired plants.

Competition is developing more quickly than expected in the generating market. Emerging rivals, including oil and gas production companies and the regional electricity supply companies, are mostly using CCGT plants.

National Power expects its market share in England and Wales to fall from over 40 per cent to little more than 30 per cent in the foreseeable future. John Baker, National Power's chief executive, said recently that independent power producers could account for 10,000 megawatts of capacity by 1995, compared with at most 5,000, which was expected when National Power was formed three years ago.