Human error responsible for power outages across Taiwan: minister

05/14/2021 08:30 PM
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Taipower spokesman Chang Ting-shu (張廷抒, left) explains how Thursday
Taipower spokesman Chang Ting-shu (張廷抒, left) explains how Thursday's power trip was caused during a press conference organized by the Ministry of Economic Affairs. CNA photo May 14, 2021

Taipei, May 14 (CNA) Human error has been identified as the cause of power cuts across Taiwan on Thursday, Economics Minister Wang Mei-hua (王美花) said Friday, citing an initial report on the massive blackout that affected more than 4 million households.

Wang said a worker at state-run Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) mistakenly pressed an isolator switch during tests for a transmission wire capacity expansion project at a transformer station in Hsinta Power Plant in Kaohsiung on Thursday.

The worker was supposed to press the No. 3542 isolator switch, but instead pressed No. 3541, causing a communication system at the transformer station to break down, Wang said.

The failure made it impossible to export electricity generated at the power plant and as a result voltage plunged, causing four coal-fire generators to trip, she said.

The glitch, occurred at 2:37 p.m., cut power output by 2.2 million kilowatts. The shortfall led Taipower to implement national rolling power cuts in 50-minute intervals starting from 3 p.m., and ending at 8 p.m.

According to the report, a total of 6,300 industrial and commercial users, as well as 4.15 million household users were impacted by the power outages.

Affected users will receive a 5 percent discount on their electricity bill as compensation for the inconvenience caused by the power cuts, Taipower Vice President Wang Yao-ting (王耀庭) said at a press conference.

Taipower has estimated that total compensation could come to around NT$470 million (US$16.8 million), Wang said.

(By Liang Pei-chi, Tseng Chih-yi and Elizabeth Hsu)


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