Part of the island was left without electricity when a pipe in the boiler of one of the four groups at the Es Murterar power station in Alcudia broke at 11.35am. The generator had to be closed down and electricity cut in some lines although the lights were back on by 11.58am. According to a spokesman for Gesa, the gas and electricity board, the breakdown was normal in installations of that type, and none of the workers at the power station was injured. Because of an escape of scalding steam, the break could not be examined before midnight, when the boiler has cooled down, and so the cause of the breakdown will not be known until this morning. Repairs will take “three or four days” according to company sources. The Gesa spokesman said that the blackouts, which were caused by a need to “stabilise” supplies from the Alcudia power station lasted 23 minutes in the worst cases. They affected rural areas of Sa Pobla, Calvia, Arta, Cala Millor, Porto Colom and other areas. But union sources said that while nobody was injured in the accident, one employee had to be taken to Muro hospital for treatment for shock. Representatives of the workers held an improvised press conference outside the power station, at which they explained that the boiler supported a pressure of 130 kilos per square centimetre of steam heated to 530 degrees. They claimed that the break could have been caused by lack of maintenance. On Tuesday, a hundred or so workers from the Alcudia power station staged a demo outside the plant, protesting at lack of maintenance and poor working conditions. Last week, workers presented management with a proposal for negotiations in which activities and functions of staff would be discussed, as well as other working conditions and pay. They are also planning to stage a strike on three alternative days, although the dates have yet to be negotiated with the workers at the other power stations. For Gesa, the breakdown at the plant could not have come at a worse time. The workers claim that there were 34 accidents at the plant last year and 22 in the year 2000.

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