Power blackout hits 34,000 homes in Osaka

Traffic lights went black at several major intersections in Osaka yesterday during the nearly 12-hour-long blackout that affected homes, hospitals and supermarkets as well. Train systems, however, were unaffected as they use a separate power network.
Traffic lights went black at several major intersections in Osaka yesterday during the nearly 12-hour-long blackout that affected homes, hospitals and supermarkets as well. Train systems, however, were unaffected as they use a separate power network.PHOTO: TWITTER

TOKYO • A major blackout struck Osaka at dawn yesterday, cutting off power to 34,000 homes and shutting down hospitals and 24-hour convenience stores.

Traffic lights also went black at several major intersections, with traffic police activated to direct vehicles. Train systems, which use a separate power network, were unaffected.

Power was fully restored by 5pm (4pm Singapore time), nearly 12 hours after the blackout occurred at 5.40am mainly in Osaka's Suita city, where 29,520 homes were affected. The rest were in nearby Higashiyodogawa ward and Settsu city.

The Osaka Police Department said that reports were lodged of a loud boom occurring underground near the Takakijo district in Suita seconds before the power shut off.

The Kansai Electric Power Company (Kepco) is investigating possible electricity leakage through the underground transmission cable that runs beneath Suita.

The cable appeared to have ruptured, leading to the outage, Kepco said, apologising for "causing inconvenience to so many people".

Suita city issued a heatstroke prevention alert as fans and air-conditioners stopped working. Temperatures yesterday soared to 34 deg C, with the so-called "feels like" temperature hitting 40 deg C.

The incident led hospitals and clinics to temporarily suspend outpatient treatment and delayed the opening of supermarkets, which had to find ways to keep produce from rotting in the brutal summer heat.

Suita city issued a heatstroke prevention alert as fans and air-conditioners stopped working. Temperatures yesterday soared to 34 deg C, with the so-called "feels like" temperature hitting 40 deg C.

The blackout in Osaka follows a widespread power outage in Taiwan last Tuesday when, for five hours, power was cut across 17 cities and counties due to "structural problems" and human error involving the replacement of equipment.

Walter Sim

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 24, 2017, with the headline 'Power blackout hits 34,000 homes in Osaka'. Print Edition | Subscribe