HOTELS in Millmerran, Pittsworth and Inglewood are booked solid for the next two weeks as 200 skilled workers check in for the Millmerran Power Station’s annual shutdown.

Turbine Unit Two at the 850MW plant with be shut down from Friday for a nine-day maintenance program to fix wear and tear and install some minor modifications.

Plant manager Chris Sydel said most of the 200 contractors were Queenslanders.

“There are 16 companies involved,” he said.

“Nine contactors are from New South Wales and two from South Australia.”

The COVID-19 pandemic complicated the process, forcing the station operators to delay a similar shutdown on Unit One until March 2020, to reduce the risk of illness spreading.

Those that have arrived from interstate have been in hotel quarantine.

“COVID-19 has meant extra work for everyone,” Mr Sydel said.

“We have more cleaners, more sanitising and handwash stations and we are temperature testing everyone who comes onto the site, so we had to get specialist equipment.”

Working parties will be segregated, a temporary lift is in place to reduce the numbers congregating in the main lifts and each contracting company must provide a detail COVID control plan.

While Queensland had very few COVID-19 cases in the past few months Mr Sydel said extra care was needed to ensure the supply of power to homes and businesses across the state.

“Being the power industry, we want to take all precautions,” he said.

“If COVID-19 went through the station it would cause issues with being able to generate power because we are one the largest stations in Queensland.”

Originally published as Big regional employer takes on 200 new workers