Nationwide power outages after accident at major power station

More than one third of households around Taiwan were without power after what the Ministry of Economic Affairs described as “a bang, but not an explosion” at a major power plant in Kaohsiung City at 9:07 am this morning, Thursday, March 3.

Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua made a public apology for the situation and said that the power outages were caused by an accident at the main switch station of Xingda Power Plant in Kaohsiung City. Wang said that power in northern regions will be fully restored before noon, and in southern and central regions after noon.

According to national power supplier Taipower, the power outage is estimated to have affected about 5 million of the 14 million households in Taiwan.

In Kaohsiung City, the MRT and light rail systems were suspended. According to reports, most trains stopped at stations, but at least two were stopped between stations, and passengers had to be disembarked and walk to the nearest station.

In New Taipei City traffic lights at major intersections were out and police were dispatched to control traffic. Firefighters had responded to at least 65 cases of people being trapped in elevators as of 10:30 am.

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, 48 of 62 industrial zones have been affected. The economic impact is still being assessed, and affected companies will be compensated according to the terms of power supply contracts.

Petrochemical industrial zones in Kaohsiung City could not activate backup power systems in time. At the CNPC Dalin Plant black smoke and flames were seen being emitted from one of the combustion towers. The service center said that this was a discharge of residual petrochemical raw materials in the pipeline, which was a normal phenomenon.

The service center of the Linhai Industrial Zone stated that there is a major power outage in the area, affecting large enterprises such as CNPC, China Steel, and Taiwan Shipbuilding, all of which are in a state of shutdown.

Chen Guodong, CEO of the CNPC Petrochemical Division, said that downstream manufacturers have also been seriously affected, and CNPC has made preparations for recovery, but the supply chain and industrial chain must be brought together, and it will take several days for all related industries to return to normal.

Sinosteel said that some production lines were temporarily affected, but the plant is equipped with a backup power system, and there was no major impact on operations. Formosa Plastics Group said that a power outage occurred in some factories, but it had no impact on production.

smoke at power station
Smoke is seen after “loud bang, but not explosion” at Xingda Power Plant.
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