Yallourn outage powers on despite COVID

Yallourn Power Station

The most comprehensive maintenance overhaul since the 1970s of EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn power station unit one has reached halfway, with work being carefully managed in light of COVID-19 restrictions.

EnergyAustralia Executive Energy Liz Westcott said Yallourn maintenance work needed to continue despite the pandemic so the plant could continue to operate reliably, particularly in summer when energy demand is often at its highest.

“Plans for servicing thermal units are made several years in advance, but we were able to quickly respond to the safety and logistical challenges posed by COVID-19 such as increased social distancing and hygiene practices,” Ms Westcott said.

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“We take the health and safety of our people extremely seriously and are particularly cognisant that we are hosting an additional 600 workers during the outage – many of whom are locals.

“Many workers and small businesses are doing it tough right now. We are pleased that we’re able to offer specialist jobs during this difficult time.”

The current major outage is focussed on unit one, of four generating units. Once complete, the work estimated at around $65 million will have contributed tens of millions to the Latrobe Valley region.

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Head of Yallourn Mark Pearson said, “We’ve significantly increased the number of amenities in the form of huts that are placed at different sections of the plant, connected to water and electricity. It’s another way of assisting with group segregation and providing more space for the workers we’re hosting.

“We’ve also installed three temporary lifts for workers to access different levels of the boiler-house, where most of the work is taking place. We have created a new lunch area along with knee-operated taps and have made ample disinfectant available.”

Mr Pearson added that as power station and mine workers arrive each day, on top of having their temperature taken they are also provided with facemasks in line with guidance by Victorian government health officials.

“Having this infrastructure and supplies available only does part of the job. It’s our people who are making this maintenance work possible. We thank them for continuing to put the health and safety of their colleagues first,” he said.

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