Premier Lin Chuan apologizes for blackout

Taipei--Premier Lin Chuan (??) apologized twice to people across Taiwan on Wednesday for an islandwide power outage the previous day, which he blamed on human error.

Lin offered the apology on behalf of all administrative agencies, and he said he has instructed Minister without Portfolio Wu Cheng-chung (???) to set up a special team to examine and verify the stability of the country's power grid and power generation structure.

Tuesday's power outage that left 6.68 million households around Taiwan without power was the result of an operational error that caused all six generators of the country's largest gas-fired power plant to trip, cutting the supply of power by 4.5 million kilowatts.

Lin said Taiwan's power issues involve more than just a single incident, however, citing the toppling of a Ho-Ping Power Plant transmission tower during a typhoon in late July that triggered fears of power rationing.

"The two incidents affected the stability of the country's power supply, indicating that (we) need to engage in an overall check of the power supply system," Lin said.

Noting that the recent crises were attributed to big power plants, Lin said he hoped electricity-generating facilities will be more scattered in the future, but he indicated that for the time being the power grid and transmission networks of larger power plants needed to be re-examined to guarantee they are safe.

As for lawmakers' request that he deliver a report on the power outage at the Legislative Yuan on Aug. 21, Lin said he was willing to do so.

Opposition Kuomintang Legislator Lin Wei-chou (???) said he respected the government's nuclear free policy, but stressed that what people want is a home where there is no power rationing and outages.

When at the Legislative Yuan, Lin Chuan should detail the administration's comprehensive energy resource policy and how it intends to achieve the goal of developing Taiwan into a nuclear-free home by 2025, the lawmaker demanded.

Lin Chuan said on Wednesday that his Cabinet is investigating the responsibility of two state-run enterprises -- oil refiner CPC Corp., Taiwan (CPC), and utility Taiwan Power Co. (Taipower) -- in Tuesday's power outage.

According to an initial investigation by CPC, the sudden stoppage in its supply of natural gas to Taipower's Tatan Power Plant resulted from the failure of a CPC contractor to follow proper procedures in replacing two power supplies in the control room of a CPC metering station near the Tatan plant.

The contractor failed to switch the power system to manual mode before replacing the power supplies, triggering an alarm that automatically closed two motor valves in the natural gas pipeline that feeds the Tatan power plant, according to CPC.

The contractor later disputed CPC's version of the events, saying CPC staff in the control room were directing power supply repairs and it was their responsibility to switch the system to manual mode.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel