* Strike expands to include grid operator
* Statnett says will not able to repair grid if problems
* Power supplier to Kollsnes also affected
* Government has made no move to intervene
By Nerijus Adomaitis
OSLO, May 14 Norwegian power and grid company
workers have joined a growing strike, creating a risk of
nationwide disruptions to electricity supply, grid operator
Statnett said on Tuesday, including to Norway's power and gas
The EL&IT Forbundet union first called a strike on April 29
of 80 members who seek to sign a collective agreement with IT
infrastructure company Atea. On May 7, it expanded the
action to 3,000 members at regional power companies that are
customers of Atea.
As of Tuesday, another 466 members joined the strike,
including workers at Statnett, which manages high-voltage
transmission lines and power cables going abroad. The
state-owned grid operator said it could no longer vouch for
security of power supplies and warned of potential blackouts.
"Those of our people who are supposed to repair power lines
and substations are on strike as of today. We consider the
situation very serious," Oeivind Rue, Statnett's executive vice
"If something happens on the grid, it would remain
unrepaired as long as the strike goes on," Rue said.
The government, which can step in to stop the strike if it
threatens human lives, vital infrastructure or national
interests, has so far not made a move to intervene.
Among the companies affected by the strike is Bergen-based
BKK, the power supplier to Norway's leading gas processing plant
Kollsnes, which exports gas to Britain and continental Europe.
Gas processing plants need a stable power supply, and even a
small dip in power could halt gas compressors abruptly.
Statoil, which is the technical service provider at
Kollsnes, could not immediately be reached for comment. Gassco,
the plant's operator, said in an email it was following the
Power suppliers affected by the strike put out notices on
their websites advising customers to be ready with fresh
batteries for flashlights and with cables to charge mobile
phones from cars in case the lights go off.