FIDDLERS Ferry workers have been given 'security' and 'stability' after the power station secured a contract, which will run until September 2018, at an auction.

Almost one year ago it was feared three of the plant's four units would close but the site secured a contract to provide back-up power to National Grid following a competitive procurement process.

The one-year arrangement, which runs until April, covered one of the three available units at the site.

Energy giant Scottish & Southern Energy (SSE) currently employs around 160 members of staff at Fiddlers Ferry – 213 worked there last year.

A spokesman said: "Although SSE has consulted on the future of Fiddlers Ferry in the past, the consultation closed last year, with the station remaining open.

"In the GB Capacity Market Auction in January 2017, SSE successfully secured a contract for three out of the four units at Fiddlers Ferry power station to provide electricity generation capacity from October 2017 to September 2018."

Last year Warrington South MP David Mowat held crisis talks with former energy secretary Amber Rudd.

And he has responded to the latest developments this week.

"I'm delighted that Fiddlers Ferry has been successful in the latest round of bids – it gives security and stability to all those who work at the plant," he said.

"Going forward, the stringent emissions directives that the UK has signed itself up to mean, as a nation, that we do have to scale back our use of coal for electricity.

"However, we also need to keep the lights on so I'm hopeful that the plant will still have a role to play."

Last March, SSE said it had been losing money for two years and would prefer to incur a penalty by breaching a contract rather than face further losses.

The company blamed falling prices for the turmoil.

Plans to close the site put 800 jobs at risk, with contractors including tradesmen, train drivers, technicians and bulldozer operators also among those working at the station.

The Government has vowed to end coal-fired electricity generation by 2025 to meet climate change targets.

The site has been providing enough electricity to supply around two million homes.

It has since been confirmed the power station has secured another contract for the units – it will run until 2019.

Halton MP Derek Twigg welcomed the news but is urging the Government to invest in the future of coal-fired power stations.

He said: “Fiddlers Ferry has now got work for three of the plant’s machines.

“The first deal brought them to September 2018 and they have now filled the gap with a new agreement until 2019.

“But I am still concerned about the Government’s policy towards power stations.

“They have a big responsibility to keep the lights on.

"We have not had a very bad winter for years.

“We can’t be taking risks with the future of power stations.”

He said many Widnes residents who work at the plant had turned to him for help.

“It was a relief to get these deals,” he added.

“Staff have worked really hard to find ways of making savings.”