26 March, 2002 – Continued low wholesale power prices have been blamed by TXU for its latest mothballing of coal capacity. The company said that it is withdraw two more 189 MW units at its High Marnham power station and a single 333 MW unit at Drakelow as of 31 March and will been for the duration of the ‘summer period’.

Since January TXU has now removed 1233 MW of its 2 914MW of coal-fired capacity or 42 per cent. TXU said that the “withdrawal was in line with industry-standard scheduling for this type of plant at a time of low demand and wholesale power prices”.

The New Electricity Trading Arrangements (NETA) have made it uneconomic for some generators to keep plants running. Prices in the £7.5bn market have dropped about 25 per cent since NETA’s introduction, according to energy regulator Ofgem.

“The mothballing of these units reflects market fundamentals of system overcapacity and low wholesale prices coupled with unit specific issues of age, efficiency, reliability and maintenance requirements…” said Martin Stanley, TXU’s president of trading and production, in a statement earlier in the year when the shutdown’s were first announced.

TXU said it was not closing the units for good, and could bring them back should market conditions improve.

The price dive has hit many generators and on Friday the US energy giant AES called in the receivers to its coal fired FiFoots Point plant in South Wales.