Thousands hit by power outage in JB city centre

A traffic light at a junction at Jalan Tebrau in Johor Baru that stopped working after a major power outage in the city area on Sept 6, 2018.
A traffic light at a junction at Jalan Tebrau in Johor Baru that stopped working after a major power outage in the city area on Sept 6, 2018.PHOTO: THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Thousands of people, including Singaporean holidaymakers, were affected by a major power outage yesterday in Johor Baru's city centre and its surrounding areas for more than six hours, due to a fault at the main city centre substation.

Places such as shopping malls and schools suffered blackouts, while traffic lights and surveillance cameras did not function during the power disruption that started at around 1pm.

That led to traffic jams along major roads, and police officers were deployed to manage traffic flow, reported Malaysian news outlet The Star.

Singaporean Eugenie Chong, 42, who arrived in Johor Baru for a three-day trip with her colleagues and her 11-year-old daughter on Wednesday afternoon, told The Straits Times they were stranded at their accommodation until power was restored at about 7pm.

"There was no Wi-Fi, no TV, no entertainment. Most of the restaurants and shops were closed," said the freelance market research interviewer, adding that her daughter's school holiday vacation was ruined by the disruption.

Some government buildings and landmarks were also affected, including the Sultan Iskandar Building that houses the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine (CIQ) complex at the border near Singapore, the central police station, JB Sentral railway station and Sultanah Aminah Hospital.

But the disruption at the CIQ, hospitals and most commercial buildings was only temporary, and they continued to operate using backup generators, said Datuk Baderul Sham Saad, general manager of Johor's Tenaga Nasional Berhad, the national power utility.


Some residents of high-rise apartments were reportedly trapped in lifts during the power outage and required rescue, a spokesman for the Larkin Fire and Rescue Department told The Star.

Most of them were rescued by the lift maintenance teams of their apartment buildings, said a spokesman for the Johor Fire and Rescue Department.

Some social media users reported slower-than-usual traffic at the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints.

Electrical power was restored to 95 per cent of the areas in the Johor state capital as at 7.15pm last night, and by 7.40pm, power was restored totally, said Mr Baderul.

The power disruption was caused by a faulty city centre substation at Jalan Datuk Abdul Rahman Andak. The cause of the damage is under investigation.

Singaporean Zulfikar Zulkarnin, 24, who was in Johor Baru for a day trip with his colleagues, told ST that he had to eat in a restaurant without air-conditioning or lights in Wisma Jotic mall.

Mr Zulfikar, who crossed the Causeway at about 2pm, realised there was a power outage only when he saw that traffic lights were not working and police officers were directing traffic at some junctions.

The aircraft technician said there were traffic jams, but added: "In my experience, as someone who frequently drives into Johor Baru, it was quite normal."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2018, with the headline 'Thousands hit by power outage in JB city centre'. Print Edition | Subscribe