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Taiwan blackout caused by malfunction at Kaohsiung power plant

Equipment malfunction at switchyard in Hsinta Power Plant affected operation of Longci Substation

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Photo shows steam escape during emergency shutdown of unit in switchyard at Hsinta Power Plant. (Taipower photo)

Photo shows steam escape during emergency shutdown of unit in switchyard at Hsinta Power Plant. (Taipower photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Taiwan Power Company (Taipower, 台電) says that the widespread power outages experienced across Taiwan on Thursday morning (March 3) appear to have been caused by an equipment failure at a power plant in Kaohsiung City.

At approximately 9 a.m. on Thursday, whole districts of Tainan City and Kaohsiung City began suffering power outages, while rolling blackouts also occurred in central and northern parts of the country. Areas known to have been affected include Taipei City, Taichung City, Taoyuan City, Kaohsiung City, Keelung City, New Taipei City, Hualien City, Keelung City, and Tainan City.

Districts in Taipei City reportedly affected by the blackouts include Wenshan District, Neihu District, Da'an District, and Xinyi District. In New Taipei City, Yonghe District, Banqiao District, and New Taipei Industrial Park reported losses of power.

According to Taipower officials, an equipment malfunction at a switchyard in the Hsinta Power Plant in Kaohsiung City's Yong'an District caused an imbalance in the southern power grid. This initially triggered the Longci Substation's self-protection mechanism to disconnect from the grid.

This caused an instant loss of 10.5 million kilowatts, tripping the self-protection mechanism of power plants across southern Taiwan to disconnect from the southern grid. Given the sudden disconnection of so many power plants, the northern and central grid's protection mechanisms also kicked in, causing power outages across central and northern Taiwan as well.