Security increased at Delta plants due to extortion threat

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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Mount Piper power station

Delta Electricity, New South Wales' second largest electricity producer has increased security at its four plants near Sydney following an extortion threat.

Delta Electricity operates coal-fired power plants at Wallerawang and Mount Piper (near Portland) in the state's Central West with Mummorah and Vales Point both between Sydney and Newcastle.

Delta reportedly received the letter last week which is said to contain a threat to bomb one of the plants if a "multi-million" dollar payment was not received. Jim Henness, Chief Executive of Delta Electricity denies that the letter threatened to bomb company facilities or harm employees. He did concede that Delta has undertaken responses "for the protection of people and plant".

New South Wales Police have set up Strike Force Wayside investigate the threat. Members of the strike force have been working with Delta to help identify the source of the extortion demand.

The mayor of Lithgow, Neville Castle said that residents were nervous. He said "Obviously there's concern in the community"

"We'd look at it very dimly however to my mind it wouldn't be concerned with terrorism activity because as far as I am aware, terrorists don't forecast what they are goring to do in advance. It seems to be very sudden as to what they do."

Lithgow is located close to Wallerawang and Mount Piper plants and a large number of residents are employed at the plants or in the local coal mines that supply them.