National Power to close five plants: Generator to axe 410 jobs - Coalite sheds 290

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The Independent Online
NATIONAL POWER plans to shut five coal-fired power plants with the loss of 410 jobs. At the same time Coalite Smokeless Fuels, part of Anglo United, said that falling demand for solid fuel was forcing it to close its works at Grimethorpe in South Yorkshire, with the loss of 290 jobs.

National Power also said it would mothball some oil-fired generating stations that have been making losses because of the cap on wholesale electricity prices introduced in February by the electricity regulator, Offer. The withdrawal of the oil-fired plants will not affect jobs.

The coal-fired plants include Rugeley in Staffordshire, Skelton Grange in Leeds, Willington near Derby, Aberthaw in South Glamorgan and Uskmouth in Gwent. The plants, some of which were already partly closed, have until now been needed to ensure the stability of the national electricity grid. But National Power said that the plants were no longer required because the grid had been reinforced.

The company said that the number of surplus power plants in the UK, combined with new plants being built, meant that none of those to be closed or mothballed would be needed to meet demand for electricity.

A spokesman for National Power said capacity on the country's electricity generating system would still far outstrip customers' peak requirements next winter. The withdrawal of older plants was more than offset by the introduction of new gas-fired power plants by independent generators, including North Sea companies and overseas electricity groups, as well as by National Power and PowerGen.

National Power said the closures announced yesterday were not connected with its agreement with Offer to sell some power plants to increase competition in the marketplace.