Taiwan hit by widespread power outages
TAIPEI/KAOHSIUNG, TAIWAN -- Taiwan reported a massive blackout on Thursday that is affecting its two biggest cities as well as its most important iPhone processor production hub.
Over 5 million households were affected by the power outages, including in Taipei, the capital, and Kaohsiung, the second-biggest city.
Taiwan Power Co. said in a brief statement that its southern power grid system encountered a malfunction causing blackouts in southern Taiwan. Knock-on effects from the outage triggered power outages in some parts of northern and central Taiwan as well.
The malfunction took place at Kaohsiung's Hsinta Power Plant, the biggest power plant in southern Taiwan, according to the company. The iPhone processor production hub is in Tainan, in southern Taiwan.
Economic Minister Wang Mei-Hua said a government team was doing its best to restore power to northern Taiwan by noon. To deal with the malfunction, Hsinta Power Plant must be cut off from other power plants, she said, explaining that it will then take time to restore and restart those plants.
"Southern Taiwan will take more time to restore power," Wang said. "Restarting power plants takes some time, too."
On Thursday afternoon, the government said that power had been restored to 75% of the 5.49 million households affected, with the remaining power to be restored by Thursday night.
The large-scale power outage comes as former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in Taiwan for his first-ever visit to the key Asia tech economy. Pompeo is set to meet Tsai on Thursday. Their meeting is expected to go ahead, but a live broadcast of the event has been cancelled.
Tainan Science Park -- the site of TSMC's most cutting-edge chip production plants for iPhone processors -- reported sudden and abnormal voltage changes to the site's power supply but said it is still determining whether those changes have had any impact on the park.
The science park is home to major tech plants for TSMC, United Microelectronics and Foxconn display affiliate Innolux. TSMC said on Thursday morning it was still checking whether the power outages across the island have affected its operations.
Taiwan suffered its last massive power outage in 2021, which affected some 4 million households and was also caused by malfunctions at Hsinta Power Plant's power grids. The plant runs both coal-fired and natural gas-fired generators and is the third-largest power plant in Taiwan.
Another massive power outage in Taiwan hit in 2017, when about 6.68 million households were affected.
Writer, S. (2022, March 3). Taiwan hit by widespread power outages. Nikkei Asia. https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Energy/Taiwan-hit-by-widespread-power-outages