Around six million households across Taiwan had their electricity supplies interrupted after an outage at the Hsinta coal-fired power plant.
Officials haven’t released any details about what caused the incident, which occurred at around 3 pm local time (7 am GMT), apart from acknowledging a technical failure.
But government ministers did acknowledge that the grid didn’t have sufficient electricity capacity. Rolling blackouts would be required until 4:40 pm local time (8:40 am GMT).
It is hoped that supplies will return to normal by the evening.
Hsinta Power Plant in the port city of Kaohsiung is the island’s second-biggest coal-fired station. It has a generation capacity of around 4.3 MW.
The incident didn’t affect the main international airport near the capital Taipei or the high speed railway network.
The country’s world-renowned high-tech manufacturing and science hubs were mostly unaffected too. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the world’s biggest microchip maker, said the incident had led to a “brief power dip” at its main facility, but supplies had been fully restored.
Incidentally, TSMC did temporarily lose power at its chip manufacturing complex last month after an underground power cable was accidentally severed.
This incident isn’t the first time that Taiwan has been hit by major power problems.
In August 2017, nearly 7 million households across the country were affected by rolling blackouts that lasted for five hours. Engineering error at Tatan Power Plant in Guanyin district caused six generators at the plant to trip.
This disrupted around 4 GW of electricity supply, leading to rationing of power for around four hours.
It’s not just power plant failures that lead to blackouts in Taiwan. Termites are just one of the weirder causes of power cuts…