Widespread Power Outages Across Taiwan Affect 5 Million Households

By Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts
Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.
March 3, 2022 Updated: March 3, 2022

Widespread power outages were reported across Taiwan on the morning of March 3, leaving millions without electricity after an alleged accident at a power plant in the southern part of the country.

The blackouts began at about 9 a.m., affecting the areas of Taipei, New Taipei, Hsinchu, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung,  Changhua, Keelung, Taoyuan, Hualien, and Miaoli, according to local reports.

According to Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower), the outages were caused by an equipment failure at the Hsinta Power Plant in Kaohsiung City, which provides around a seventh of Taiwan’s power.

Taipower officials told Taiwan News that the equipment malfunction at the plant in Kaohsiung City’s Yong’an District caused an “imbalance” in the southern power grid, which in turn triggered the Longci substation’s self-protection mechanism to disconnect from the grid.

There was an “instant loss of 10.5 million watts,” the company told local news outlets, and prompted the self-protection mechanisms of power plants across southern Taiwan to disconnect from the southern grid, in turn, prompting the northern and central grid’s protection mechanisms to kick in. That led to widespread power outages across central and northern Taiwan as well.

Taiwan Power Co. officials didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

“It is expected that normal power supply will be available before noon, and power supply will be resumed in the south at noon,” Taiwan Power Co. said later on March 3.

Netblocks, a watchdog organization that monitors cybersecurity and internet governance, said on Twitter that the outages had taken the internet offline in much of the country, including its capital city of Taipei.

“Confirmed: A power outage has knocked out internet connectivity across much of #Taiwan including Taipei; real-time network data show national connectivity falling to 68% of ordinary levels from ~9 a.m. local time; incident ongoing,” the organization said.

President of Taipower Chung Bin-li said that 5 million households had been affected by the power outage.

The power outages came as former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived in Taipei on Wednesday evening for a four-day visit to the country where he was set to meet Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen.

CPAC
Former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference at The Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida, on Feb. 25, 2022. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen speaks at a rank conferral ceremony for military officials from the Army, Navy, and Air Force, at the defense ministry in Taipei, Taiwan, on Dec. 28, 2021. (Annabelle Chih/Reuters)

A spokesperson for Tsai said that a scheduled livestream of her meeting with Pompeo had to be temporarily canceled as a result of the power outages.

Tsai has ordered an investigation into the outages.

However, officials’ said power should start being restored back to southern Taiwan from mid-day.

While the equipment failure at the Hsinta Power Plant was cited as the reason for the outages, cabinet spokesman Lo Ping-cheng said authorities could not rule out the possibility that the plant had been hacked

“It all needs further proof and investigation, which requires evidence,” Ping-cheng said.

Katabella Roberts is a reporter currently based in Turkey. She covers news and business for The Epoch Times, focusing primarily on the United States.