Gas restriction in Electrolux plant threatens production

By Craig Zammit

SYDNEY: The Electrolux refrigeration factory in Orange, New South Wales has been asked to temporarily restrict its gas use, after the failure of a compressor at Young halted production at the factory and threatened domestic supply.

Used to pump gas through the pipeline in Lithgow, the compressor’s failure lead to 20 of the area’s largest industrial users being asked to halt their gas usage, ensuring supplies to homes, hospitals and aged care centres were maintained.

Gas supplies were restricted between the hours of 4:00am [AEST] and 8:30am however restrictions look set to change on a daily basis with variable factors such as the weather determining projected domestic usage rates.

The damaged compressor will now take approximately two weeks to be repaired, with a replacement part already ordered from Canada.

At one point, the Electrolux factory accounted for 35 per cent of Orange’s collective income and employed over 1,200 workers.

Jobs cuts in 2004 have since restricted its workforce to approximately 1,000 workers, after 200 were made redundant when the factory began phasing out production of small refrigerators and chest freezers, choosing instead to import cheaper products from Thailand and China.

The redundancies came as a shock to the area, as only years earlier the state government had contributed $6 million to keep production going.

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