Taiwan premier pledges to minimise chances of another power blackout

People walking along a street during a massive power outage in Taipei on Aug 15, 2017.
People walking along a street during a massive power outage in Taipei on Aug 15, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan's premier said on Monday (Aug 21) the government will minimise the probability of another power blackout but cannot guarantee that there will be no recurrence.

The government is under mounting pressure after a massive power blackout last week hit businesses and residences, raising concerns about the sustainability of the power supply on the island, a high-tech hub and supplier to global names such as Apple Inc.

"We should minimise the probability, but we can't give a 100 per cent guarantee that it will not happen again," Lin Chuan said in response to questions from a lawmaker in the legislature.

"It can happen, but Taiwan does not have a power shortage problem." The blackout, which affected close to 7 million households, was caused by "structural problems" and human error involving the replacement of equipment, the government has said.

President Tsai Ing-wen has apologised for the blackout, describing electricity supply as a national security issue and stressing the importance of ensuring the safety of the island's infrastructure facilities.

As the premier took questions from legislators, opponents of the opposition Kuomintang Party (KMT) took the opportunity to express outrage about the outage. "You not only have no contingency plans for the future, but you're pushing all of us to the brink of disaster," lawmaker Ellen Lee of the KMT said to the premier.


Tsai and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have set a goal to achieve a "zero nuclear" policy by 2025, on an island that currently relies substantially on nuclear power plants for its energy production.

The government has also set a goal to have renewable energy account for 20 per cent of total energy supply by 2025, the premier said in a report to the legislature.