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Streets and schools kept cold in Kouvola as UPM strike eliminates 80% of heat supply

Kouvola currently uses backup power plants that generate heat through fossil fuels.

Kouvolan kaupungintalo.
Kouvola reduces heat in the city's buildings to cope with UPM plant closure. Image: Antro Valo / Yle
Yle News

The City of Kouvola has lowered the ventilation and heating of some facilities to cope with the shutdown of the biopower plant at UPM Kymi, which normally produces about 80 percent of the city's district heating.

A strike at UPM Kymi began on Saturday but the city's district heating will not be interrupted despite the facility's closure, as backup power plants will continue to generate heat.

"Substitute district heating is produced in Kouvola through the use of fossil fuels," said Katja Ahola, the city's properties manager. Kouvola is located roughly 134 kilometres northeast of the Finnish capital, Helsinki.

Heating of schools and streets will be reduced

To cope with the plant closure, the city will regulate the ventilation of schools that are empty due to the ongoing holiday break, which will reduce the need for heating.

Heating and ventilation in the schools will be returned to normal when the new term begins on 10 January.

Ventilation and heating in other city buildings will also be lowered in the downtown and Kuusankoski areas. The same is done for empty buildings, such as the former town hall of Kuusankoski.

The street heating in Kuusankoski Square and Manski will be set to a minimum, with road maintenance kept up with ploughing and sanding.

UPM Kymi's employees are on a three-week strike after the current collective agreement covering the workers ran out on 31 December. UPM and union representatives were unable to negotiate a new deal.

UPM is the only company that has not negotiated a new company-specific collective agreement with the paper union.

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