Parliament: SP Power Grid fined $1.75 million for Carlton Hotel and Bright Hill power failures

A $1 million fine was imposed on SP Power Grid for the incident at Carlton Hotel on Feb 14, 2019, which caused a disruption in electricity supply to some areas in central Singapore.
A $1 million fine was imposed on SP Power Grid for the incident at Carlton Hotel on Feb 14, 2019, which caused a disruption in electricity supply to some areas in central Singapore.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - SP Power Grid (SPPG) has been fined a total of $1.75 million by the Energy Market Authority (EMA) for two substation fire incidents at Carlton Hotel and Bright Hill that led to power failures earlier this year.

Trade and Industry Minister Chan Chun Sing said this in a written reply on Monday (July 8) to a parliamentary question by Nominated MP Walter Theseira, who had asked about the cause of the fire at Carlton Hotel and the result of the investigation into the fire in Bright Hill.

Dr Theseira, a transport economist from the Singapore University of Social Sciences, also asked whether any equipment at fault in the two incidents is scheduled for replacement or maintenance, and what measures have been taken to address the risk of recurrence.

A $1 million fine was imposed on SPPG for the incident at Carlton Hotel on Feb 14, which caused a disruption in electricity supply to some areas in central Singapore.

EMA's investigations found that the power failure at the hotel was due to a short circuit in the substation switchgear, which started a fire.

"The insulation between two components in the switchgear had failed due to heat stress from foreign contaminants, which could have been introduced during maintenance," Mr Chan said.

The electricity industry regulator determined that the incident could have been prevented had SPPG complied with its standard operating procedure for monitoring work.

 
 
 
 

SPPG was fined $750,000 for the incident at the substation in Bright Hill on Jan 26, which caused a power outage that lasted about one and a half hours and affected some 27,000 residents.

EMA's investigations showed that a faulty voltage transformer (VT) had started the fire in the substation and SPPG had been using the faulty VT beyond the manufacturer's recommended lifespan.

In his reply, Mr Chan noted that SPPG is replacing all the VTs that have exceeded their lifespan, starting with those of a similar make and model as the faulty VT in the Bright Hill incident.

"EMA has also worked with SPPG to place such equipment within a protection zone where, in the event of failure, the impact will be isolated to minimise the risk of a cascading effect affecting other substations," he said.

SPPG has engaged an independent consultant to review and recommend enhancements to its equipment replacement and maintenance regime, and is putting more resources into monitoring substations and renewing key assets, Mr Chan added.