|A sign at a Macau bank notifying business interruption due the power failure. © Xinhua|
April 18, 2015 – MACAU – A massive power outage, triggered by malfunctioning electrical substations, hit Macau yesterday, paralysing fixed-line telephones, traffic lights and elevator services, said the government. Banking services in the affected areas were also briefly suspended before electricity supplies were restored at noon. Some shops were temporarily closed due to the incident as well.
The city’s sole electricity supplier CEM – Companhia de Electricidade de Macau – said at 10:56am yesterday morning that a malfunction of the 110kV high-voltage equipment in the Canal dos Patos substation subsequently affected four primary substations including S. Paulo, D. Maria, Porto Exterior and Ariea Preta substations.
Extensive areas in Macau Peninsula were affected, with 100,000 customers on the Macau Peninsula and some customers in Taipa, Coloane and the University of Macau encountering voltage dips caused by the incident. The power supply was fully restored at 12:20pm according to CEM.
CEM has denied the power outage had anything to do with electricity importation from Mainland China. The two existing networks for power supplied by state-owned China Southern Power Grid, situated in Gongbei Port and Lotus Port, respectively, account for 95 per cent of local power consumption.
In a joint press conference held following the incident, the Co-ordinator of the Office for the Development of the Energy Sector, Arnaldo Ernesto dos Santos, said the government is requiring CEM to submit a preliminary report in one week and an extensive report in one month.
A representative of the Public Security Police Force said the border crossing remained normal during the incident and said the government had despatched more police officers onto the streets to ensure public order was maintained.
The Fire Services Bureau activated its emergency mechanism, including mobilising 150 officers and more vehicles to help in rescue work. It handled 75 cases of people trapped in elevators and helped 440 affected by the lift incidents.
The Health Bureau said the incident had only a minor effect on the services of the emergency ward, and the operation of surgery wards and intensive care units, as the hospital has an emergency power supply.
CEM said it took emergency measures by activating the generation units of Coloane Power Plant A to provide emergency supply, which generated the black smoke at its power plant that the company explained is normal.
CEM has apologised for the incident and said the company would learn from it to further optimise the stability of the power supply. It also disclosed that the last regular inspection of the Canal dos Patos substation was conducted last month. – Macau Business Daily.