Date
21 September 2017
Minister of Economic Affairs Lee Chih-kung leads other government officials (inset top) in apologizing for the massive blackout. Lee resigned to take responsibility. Photo: Bloomberg/Internet/CNS
Minister of Economic Affairs Lee Chih-kung leads other government officials (inset top) in apologizing for the massive blackout. Lee resigned to take responsibility. Photo: Bloomberg/Internet/CNS

Taiwan’s economy chief quits after massive blackout

Taiwan’s economy minister was forced to step down after a massive blackout hit the island on Tuesday, causing deaths and chaos, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

Minister of Economic Affairs Lee Chih-kung resigned from his position to take responsibility. The resignation was accepted by Premier Lin Chuan.

The island-wide outage came amid scorching temperatures above 37 degrees celsius. All 12 districts of Taipei were affected.

The blackout occurred at about 4:50 p.m., affecting more than 6.68 million users, or about 78 percent of the total, in 19 prefectures and cities.

It caused traffic chaos in numerous places and disrupted operations in train stations, ports, post offices, hospitals, banks and many other businesses.

It was reported that the incident, not seen since 1999, led to some deaths and left a number of people stranded in elevators.

Lee said the incident originated from the Tatan Power Plant operated by Taiwan Power Co. in Taoyuan, northern Taiwan, which generates power from natural gas supplied by CPC Corp.

Human error was suspected at CPC which forced all six generators at the power plant to shut down abruptly, eliminating more than four million kilowatts of power supply, Lee said.

Power rationing was implemented until 9:40 p.m.

Taiwan Power promised to compensate affected users while CPC said it was taking full responsibility. Investigations are continuing.

Meanwhile, Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has apologized for what happened, Apple Daily in Taiwan reported.

In a Facebook post late night Tuesday, Tsai demanded an explanation as soon as possible.

She said power supply is correlated with national security and promised the government will dig deep into the problem regarding how Taiwan’s system is vulnerable to human error.

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TL/JC/RA

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