Electricity supply disrupted for nearly 1.5 hours in parts of Singapore

A power outage was experienced in parts of Singapore, including Shunfu Mart Food Centre, on Jan 26, 2019. PHOTO: ST READER
A shop owner in Shunfu cooling herself with a pamphlet. PHOTO: ST READER
The lifts at Clover by the Park, a condominium located in Bishan, were still not functioning as of 2.15pm on Jan 26, 2019. PHOTO: ST READER

SINGAPORE - A power outage that lasted about one and a half hours hit parts of Singapore on Saturday afternoon (Jan 26).

Residents in Bishan, Toa Payoh and Shunfu reported that electricity in their homes was cut, and lifts and traffic lights were also affected.

An update on electricity provider SP Group's Facebook page at 3.19pm said that electricity supply was fully restored at 2.58pm. The disruption started at 1.30pm, affecting parts of Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Sin Ming and Thomson, and electricity supply was progressively restored from 1.46pm.

SP Group said its officers were immediately activated and its priority was to restore electricity supply as quickly and safely as possible.

A preliminary investigation found that the incident was related to a fire at a substation in Bright Hill.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said that it was alerted to the fire in Bright Hill Road at about 1.30pm. An equipment-related fire at the site was extinguished by the SCDF, and a firefighter was taken to Singapore General Hospital for smoke inhalation.

The Straits Times understands that the fire was extinguished in under 10 minutes, and the firefighter was conscious and stable.

A spokesman from the Energy Market Authority (EMA) said the energy regulator takes a serious view of electricity supply disruptions.

The spokesman added that EMA will work with the energy industry to take appropriate measures, so as to minimise the risk of such a disruption from taking place again.

EMA, SP Group and SCDF are investigating the incident.

Shunfu resident Jane Oh told The Straits Times in Mandarin that she was buying eggs at a provision shop on the ground floor when the blackout happened.

She also said that staff from the town council came by at around 2pm to check on the situation and make sure no one was still trapped inside the lifts as electricity was gradually restored.

"I started hearing the emergency alarm being rung in the lift, and realised that people were trapped inside, and the blackout had affected at least the whole block."

She said that the power went out at around 1.30pm, and was restored at around 2pm.

An elderly couple, who were leaving after visiting their daughter on the 10th storey, was trapped in the lift, said Ms Oh, 56, a freelance teacher.

"The lift had already reached the first floor, then the power was cut, trapping them inside. When the lift started working again at around 2pm, the auntie told us that she didn't want to take the lift anymore and told us not to take it too," she added.

"But I live on the 13th storey and don't have enough energy to climb so many stairs. Another resident was also sitting at the void deck with many bags of groceries waiting for lift services to be restored," said Ms Oh. She added that this was her first time experiencing an electricity supply cut in over 20 years of living in Shunfu.

Mr Eddie Osman Zaieuddin, 42, said the whole of Block 303 Shunfu Road where he lives had no power. "I saw the essential services maintenance unit at my block trying to reset the lift," said Mr Eddie, who is self-employed.

His power was cut at around 1.40pm and restored at 2.05pm.

Freelancer Mohamad Syahid Arif, 38, was getting ready to head out from his second-floor home at Block 97 Toa Payoh Lorong 3 when the outage occurred.

"There was totally no power. The lift was also not working. I could hear that there was someone stuck in the lift, pressing the emergency button," he said.

Mr Syahid also said that while he could not contact Bishan-Toa Payoh Town Council through its emergency hotline, it was responsive when he messaged the town council via Facebook.

He said: "It was quite calm, and there wasn't much chaos." In his case, the power outage started at around 1.25pm and ended at 1.50pm.

Around 4.30pm, a spokesman for the town council said that no one was injured during the outage, and that electricity supply has resumed across the GRC. The spokesman also described the situation as "calm and managed".

Residents in other areas such as Bishan Street 22 and Sin Ming Avenue were still experiencing disruptions to their electricity supply after 2pm.

On social media, Twitter user Fyra Hilspears said that electricity had been cut in Bishan.

"Lifts, traffic lights and electrical appliances are down," she wrote.

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