Human error blamed for Taiwan’s massive blackout: power company

Human error blamed for Taiwan s massive blackout power company

A human error caused the rolling blackouts that affected tens of thousands of households across Taiwan on Thursday, the island’s electricity provider said on Friday, as it offered NT$470 million (US$16.8 million) in billing discounts to affected customers.

The blackouts occurred after a worker at Taipower’s Hsingta Power Plant in the southern city of Kaohsiung mistakenly pressed the wrong switch during a test for an expansion project, causing an outage, said Taiwanese Economic Affairs Minister Wang Mei-hua on Friday.

A detailed report would be made public by Sunday, said Wang, adding that a task force would be set up to study ways to improve the island’s power grid. Taipower is the island’s state-owned electricity provider.

Taipower chairperson Yang Wei-fuu has indicated that he would accept any disciplinary action related to the outage, Wang said.

The power failure affected households and facilities in major cities including Taipei, Kaohsiung, Chiayi and New Taipei for hours before the power returned on Thursday evening. Traffic lights were out of order, causing severe congestion in many areas, while water supply pumps stopped working in some regions.

About 415,000 households and 6,300 commercial units were affected, Taipower said on Friday.

Customers would be compensated with 5% discounts in upcoming bills, worth about NT$470 million in total, Taipower said. Taipower issued NT$360 million in compensation after a blackout in  2017.

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