TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — After a power plant shut down in southern Taiwan due to an equipment malfunction Thursday (March 3), video has surfaced showing plumes of steam spewing out of its power generators.
At 9:07 a.m. whole districts of Tainan and Kaohsiung began suffering power outages, and rolling blackouts also occurred in central and northern parts of the country. Areas known to have been affected include Taipei, Taichung, Taoyuan, Kaohsiung, New Taipei, Hualien City, Keelung, and Tainan.
According to Taipower officials, an equipment malfunction at a switchyard in the Hsinta Power Plant in Kaohsiung's Yong'an District caused an imbalance in the southern power grid. This initially triggered the Longci Extra High Voltage 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 the country, causing them to disconnect from the grid and resulting in the loss of one-third of the country's power supply. Taipower President Chung Bin-li (鍾炳利) said 5.49 million households were affected by the power outage.
After emergency repairs, power was restored to Yunlin County and all areas north, accounting for about 4.12 million households by 1 p.m. that day. Work is underway to restore power for the remaining 1.37 million households in the south.
At 10 a.m., a video appeared on the Facebook page Hualien Association (花蓮同鄉會) showing steam billowing out of equipment inside the Hsinta Power Plant. Also included in the post is a photo taken from outside the plant showing steam emanating from the facility and what appear to be flames.
Taipower officials stressed that the power plant did not explode but rather released a large amount of steam very quickly. He said that in order to protect the coal-fired generators when they shut down, they released a large amount of steam. Due to the power outage, the ventilation system was not able to clear the water vapor quickly, causing it to fill the building.