July 25, 2012 / 9:15 AM / 5 years ago

RPT-UPDATE 1-PGE raises output to cover shortage at blast-hit Turow

(Repeats to additional Reuters codes)

* PGE raises output at Belchatow, Dolna Odra

* Grid operator, PGE see no threat to power supplies

* Blast, fire in Turow forced PGE to shut three units

* Fire almost out, no deadline for unit restarts

By Marcin Goettig and Maciej Onoszko

WARSAW, July 25 (Reuters) - Poland’s top utility PGE offset power output shortages at its damaged Turow plant by raising production at other units on Wednesday, as firefighters extinguished the last pockets of fire in the 2.1 gigawatt lignite-fired power station.

A coal dust explosion late on Tuesday at the Turow plant in southwest Poland had sparked the fire, in which four people were slightly injured and three out of eight units at the plant were shut down.

Turow accounts for 7 percent of Poland’s power supply.

“It seems for now the fire was effectively extinguished, though an hour ago in one place in the coal transportation system the fire started up again,” the plant’s technical director, Tomasz Ozimowski, told broadcaster TVP Info.

“But firemen are watching over the places that pose a threat and they can pour on water any time.”

He also said experts will now assess the extend of damage at the plant, which borders Germany and the Czech Republic, but did not give a deadline for re-launching the shut-down units.

The shortfalls in supply are being offset by increased output in PGE’s other units, mainly Elektrownia Belchatow and Elektrownia Dolna Odra, PGE said in a statement.

“There is no threat to supplies. We are in the middle of July, consumption is low,” a spokesman at power grid firm PSE-Operator, Slawomir Smoktunowicz, said.

Turow is one of Poland’s most modern plants after a complete make-over that finished in 2005. (Additional reporting by Stanislaw Skrzydelski and Maciej Onoszko; Editing by David Holmes)

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