UPDATE 1-Kosovo utility aims to get unit back on line in 10 days

Thu Jun 12, 2014 7:25am EDT

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PRISTINA, June 12 (Reuters) - Kosovo power utility KEK said on Thursday it would likely restart a 130 megawatt (MW) unit of its second-biggest coal-fired power plant Kosovo A in 10 days following an explosion last week that killed two people.

"We are planning to put it into operation in 10 days but it will depend on what the experts say," Edmond Nulleshi, executive director for corporate services at KEK, told Reuters.

Kosovo A and the larger Kosovo B plant account for 90 percent of electricity generation in the Balkan country.

The 40-year-old Kosovo A plant, which has three units with 130 MW capacity each, has been shut since the June 13 explosion of a hydrogen tank.

Authorities have not said what caused the blast that threatened electricity supplies in a country already plagued by blackouts. Nulleshi said the initial damage was estimated at around 1 million euros ($1.4 million).

Nulleshi said the two other units at Kosovo A would undergo maintenance in line with earlier plans. The Kosovo B power plant was working at full capacity feeding the grid with 520 megawatt-hours (MWh) of electricity, he added.

Kosovo's Energy Distribution and Supply Company (KEDS) said it was importing 50 MW of electricity from Albania. It had earlier said the country would need up to 250 MW per day to make up for the shortages.

Last year, international donors pledged 154 million euros to help close down Kosovo A, seen as one of the worst polluters in Europe, improve energy efficiency and diversify energy sources in the landlocked Balkan country, one of Europe's poorest. ($1 = 0.7345 Euros) (Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Writing by Maja Zuvela; Editing by Erica Billingham)

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