Rolling Blackouts Hit Taiwan After Accident at Power Plant

TAIPEI, Taiwan — An accident at an influence plant in southern Taiwan on Thursday prompted the authorities to institute an emergency rolling blackout throughout the island, leaving hundreds of thousands with out electrical energy in the course of the workday.

Taipower, the state-run utility firm, mentioned that the outage was brought on by a grid failure at the Hsinta Power Plant within the southern metropolis of Kaohsiung. Shortly after, at round three p.m., residents across the island acquired a authorities alert on their cell phones warning of the approaching blackouts. Then, a number of cities, together with Tainan, Taoyuan, and the capital metropolis of Taipei, noticed electrical energy lower nearly immediately.

Taiwan’s president, Tsai Ing-wen, mentioned Thursday afternoon that the ability could be step by step restored as the federal government labored to resolve the difficulty. Chang Ting-shu, a spokesman for Taipower, mentioned the utility hoped to restrict the blackouts in order that residents would solely expertise 50 minutes of outage at a time. The utility is investigating the reason for the failure.

The sudden outage caught lots of the island’s 24 million residents off guard. In a number of cities, the police had been compelled to manually direct site visitors. In the japanese metropolis of Hualien, the native hearth division acquired requests to help individuals trapped in elevators and assist at least one affected person who was on a ventilator, in response to Taiwan’s official Central News Agency. The authorities mentioned it might prioritize restoring energy for sure locations like authorities places of work, hospitals and military-related areas.

Science parks within the cities of Hsinchu and Tainan appeared up to now to be principally unaffected by the outages, in response to the information company. Taiwan is a global hub for high-tech manufacturing and is thought for its computer chip industry, whose merchandise are important parts for smartphones, automobiles and different devices.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, the chip manufacturing big, mentioned that a number of the firm’s services had skilled an influence dip on account of the outage however that electrical energy was being equipped as regular.

“T.S.M.C. has taken emergency response measures and prepared generators to minimize potential impact,” the corporate mentioned in an e-mail.

The Taipower spokesman mentioned that the size of the outage on Thursday gave the impression to be smaller than a earlier islandwide energy blackout in 2017. That outage, which lasted for 5 hours, resulted in about $three million value of losses for 151 firms in industrial parks and export processing zones, mentioned the ministry of financial affairs at the time.

Thursday’s outage got here as Taiwan has been racing to subdue a latest outbreak of the coronavirus. On Wednesday, the island’s well being authorities introduced 16 circumstances of native transmission, the best single day complete for the reason that pandemic started final yr.

On Thursday, officers from Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control had been holding a each day information briefing in Taipei to announce 13 new native circumstances when the room all of the sudden went darkish.

A video of the briefing confirmed officers sitting on the darkened stage in confusion as reporters talked amongst themselves, their faces lit by the glowing screens of their laptops. Shortly after, the ability got here again on.

Raymond Zhong contributed reporting.

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