Massive blackout hits Taiwan, affecting 5 million households

Massive blackout hits Taiwan, affecting 5 million households
  • Cities across Taiwan experienced major outages Thursday morning during rush hour, per local media reports.

  • Some five million households are affected, reports say.

  • A live broadcast of former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's meeting with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-Wen today has been cancelled.

Major cities in Taiwan were hit by a massive blackout Thursday morning, throwing rush-hour commute into chaos as sirens fill the air, local media reported. An estimated five million households are affected, per reports.

The outage started after 9 a.m., with cities such as capital Taipei, Hsinchu, and Kaohsiung in the south affected, Taiwan's Liberty Times reported.

The incident was caused by a malfunctioning power station, Hsinta, in Kaohsiung, state-run electricity company Taiwan Power Company wrote in a Facebook post. The malfunction caused a nearby substation to trip, triggering major power outages in Taiwan's south, which spread to the island's central and northern regions, the post wrote.

"It is expected that normal power supply will be available before noon, and power supply will be resumed in the south at noon," the post added.

Some five million households are affected, Taiwan's Liberty Times reported. Facebook and Twitter lit up with pictures and updates of the blackout. Fire engines were dispatched to save people trapped in elevators, while traffic lights went dark and cars piled up at intersections, Taiwan News reported.

Former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is currently in Taiwan. He is expected to meet Taiwan's democratically elected President Tsai Ing-Wen on Thursday, Reuters reported. Pompeo has been an outspoken critic of China, which claims self-governing Taiwan as part of its territory. Tsai has rejected these claims.

Taiwan Power Company suffers from cyberattacks almost every day, company chairperson Yang Wei-Fuu said previously, as quoted in a Taiwan News report. A pro-independence legislator said Taiwan needs sound protection for key energy facilities so that it can "avoid incidents such as the massive blackouts in Ukraine caused by hacking," the report wrote.

Tsai's meeting with Pompeo is slated to take place as scheduled, but a planned live broadcast of their meeting will be cancelled, Tsai's media team said in a Facebook post.

Taiwan's last major power outage was in 2021, and it was also caused by issues at Hsinta, Nikkei reported. That incident affected some four million households, Nikkei wrote.

This story is developing, please check back for more updates.

Supermarkets were also dark, but this Japanese living in Taiwan said she could shop as normal.

At this school, emergency lights light up an empty hallway.

Lights are out at this convenience store in Tainan, a city in the south.

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