Measures in place to prevent disruption to critical services

Blocks shrouded in darkness in the Kembangan area on Sept 18, 2018.
Blocks shrouded in darkness in the Kembangan area on Sept 18, 2018.PHOTO: DANIEL KUM

Contingency measures are already in place to prevent power disruptions to critical services like hospitals, traffic lights and lifts during a blackout.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon told Parliament yesterday that during the power outage on Sept 18, hospitals in affected areas activated their backup power supply immediately, preventing disruptions to operations and patient care.

Public hospitals are provided with dual supply sources that can provide backup if the other fails, he added.

And if the main power source is disrupted, backups such as diesel generators and uninterrupted power supply systems kick in automatically to support all critical equipment and facilities.

Hospitals carry out regular maintenance to ensure that both their electrical installations and back-up power systems are in good order.

Dr Koh added that telecommunication exchanges also did not experience any disruption on Sept 18 as their back-up power supplies were activated.

He noted as well that passenger lifts have to be installed with an automatic rescue device that will park the car at the nearest floor and open its doors during a power failure.


In very high-rise residential buildings or those with both residential and non-residential uses, a standby generator is required, which will provide emergency power so that at least one lift's operations can resume.

The Land Transport Authority will work with the Traffic Police to quickly deploy resources at junctions where traffic lights are not working, said Dr Koh. Backup generators can also be deployed on site to provide a temporary power supply.

He added that beyond sector-specific measures, the Energy Market Authority has also been looking at how technological solutions, such as energy storage systems, can increase security and resilience.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2018, with the headline 'Measures in place to prevent disruption to critical services'. Print Edition | Subscribe