Majority of Kilroot jobs saved but 85 workers still face the axe
The majority of 270 at-risk power station jobs are understood to have been saved after the awarding of a new generating contract at Kilroot, the Belfast Telegraph understands.
But 85 jobs are expected to go as it's confirmed that Kilroot Power Station near Carrickfergus has been given a new 12-month operating contract to guarantee "at least another year" of energy production.
Earlier this year energy giant AES, which owns Kilroot and sister power station Ballylumford in Islandmagee, warned that up to 270 jobs were at risk after it lost out on a capacity auction to supply the all-Ireland electricity market.
The auction process involved AES, the Utility Regulator, and the System Operator for Northern Ireland (SONI) and its parent company, EirGrid, in the Republic. The outcome of the auction was revealed last December.
AES refused to comment yesterday on the impact of any new contract or on any further decision for jobs.
SONI also refused to comment yesterday.
But DUP East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson said 178 jobs had been saved, though 85 would be going.
"In general, for Northern Ireland, it is good to have continuity of supply," Mr Wilson said.
"That was always a major issue. Kilroot was supplying 42% of NI's power.
"To have lost it would have been disastrous for our economy and could have led to massively disruptive outages."
Trade union Unite yesterday said AES, the owner of power stations at Ballylumford and Kilroot, had brought forward job losses affecting 20 staff at Kilroot.
A spokesman said the union believed another 60 jobs were likely to be at risk, as well as the jobs of 40 contractors.
However, the impact of any job loss is to be softened by the awarding of the contract, which has resulted from the transfer of one contract from Ballylumford to Kilroot.