Parts of Central Business District hit by blackout

Businesses from eateries to corporate offices were affected by the power outage yesterday. Some shopkeepers said that they had difficulty serving customers as their cash registers relied on electricity. Buildings such as Chinatown Point and The Arcad
Buildings such as Chinatown Point and The Arcade (above) were hit by the power outage yesterday afternoon, while other buildings in the area - such as Republic Plaza and OCBC Centre - were not affected.ST PHOTO: JAMIE KOH
Businesses from eateries to corporate offices were affected by the power outage yesterday. Some shopkeepers said that they had difficulty serving customers as their cash registers relied on electricity. Buildings such as Chinatown Point and The Arcad
Businesses from eateries to corporate offices were affected by the power outage yesterday. Some shopkeepers said that they had difficulty serving customers as their cash registers relied on electricity. PHOTOS: JAMIE KOH, SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS
Businesses from eateries to corporate offices were affected by the power outage yesterday. Some shopkeepers said that they had difficulty serving customers as their cash registers relied on electricity. Buildings such as Chinatown Point and The Arcad
Businesses from eateries to corporate offices were affected by the power outage yesterday. Some shopkeepers said that they had difficulty serving customers as their cash registers relied on electricity. PHOTOS: JAMIE KOH, SHIN MIN DAILY NEWS

SP Group says 3,156 customers were without power for about half an hour; cause still unknown

Thousands of people were left without power for half an hour yesterday afternoon after a blackout hit parts of the Central Business District.

The outage, triggered at around 2.40pm, hit the Raffles Place area and included parts of Chinatown. Banks, traffic lights, food centres and at least one shopping mall were affected.

The cause was still unknown, energy utilities provider SP Group said in a statement yesterday afternoon.

"Our officers were immediately deployed to the affected areas and our priority was to restore supply as safely and quickly as possible," said a spokesman.

The group estimated that 3,156 customers in parts of Raffles Quay, Robinson Road and Shenton Way were affected by the outage.

When the lights first went out, "everybody came out (of the shops) to see what was happening", said 60-year-old housewife Sally Leong, who was visiting a friend at a hair salon in Hong Lim Complex when the blackout occurred.

"It was very hot without the air-conditioning, so the customers went outside too," she said. "Luckily for them, they had just finished washing their hair."

Mr B.T. Yap, a communications consultant who works in Club Street, said that his computer shut down abruptly at about 2.45pm.

"Suddenly, everything went blank," said Mr Yap.

When he left the office to try to find out what was going on, Mr Yap realised that most businesses in the area were experiencing the same problem.

"I decided to give up and get a cup of tea, and then I found that Maxwell Food Centre was also affected by the blackout," he said.

Ms Bernice Koh, 24, who works in digital marketing, added: "All of us were shocked because it went dark all of a sudden."

She said that employees in her office in China Square Central stayed put until the lights came back on.

On social media, some people shared that traffic lights were down in the Robinson Road area, and that buildings such as Chinatown Point and The Arcade were left without power.

But other buildings in the vicinity - such as Republic Plaza and OCBC Centre - were not affected.

The SP Group spokesman said that power was "progressively restored via remote switching". He added that the power supply was fully restored by 3.15pm.

In the intervening time, however, some shopkeepers said that they had difficulty serving customers as they could not take cashless payments or open their cash registers, which relied on electricity.

"The cash register wouldn't open and customers couldn't pay by Nets or Visa," said Mr Vincent Tan, who runs a stationery shop in Clifford Centre. "Even if they paid by cash, I couldn't give them change."

Other businesses, such as RP Medical Specialists at Malacca Centre, had to turn customers away.

"It was quite worrying when the power went out because we were serving quite a few patients at the time," said clinic manager Des S., who declined to reveal her full name.

"Even the computers shut down, so we no longer had access to patients' detailed medical records, and we couldn't treat them or provide them with medicine," she added.

The clinic manager added that none of the patients needed urgent medical treatment and most chose to go home rather than wait for the power to return.

Mr Goh Bak Joo, who runs a fruit stall at Hong Lim Food Centre, said he was unable to rake in any fruit juice sales because his blender could not work.

"I had to turn away five or six customers because I couldn't blend juice for them," the 62-year-old said in Mandarin.

He added: "It is lucky that the power outage didn't happen during lunchtime, or I would probably have had to throw a lot of unsold fruit away."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 02, 2018, with the headline 'Parts of Central Business District hit by blackout'. Print Edition | Subscribe