Taiwan premier can’t guarantee there won’t be further blackouts

Lin Chuan insists the island does not have a power shortage problem after serious outage last week affected 7 million households

PUBLISHED : Monday, 21 August, 2017, 1:05pm
UPDATED : Monday, 21 August, 2017, 1:05pm

Taiwan’s premier has said the government will minimise the probability of further power blackouts but cannot guarantee that there will be no repeat.

The government is under mounting pressure after a massive power failure last week hit businesses and residences, raising concerns about the sustainability of power supplies on the island, a hi-tech hub and supplier to global names such as Apple Inc.

“We should minimise the probability, but we can’t give a 100 per cent guarantee that it will not happen again,” Lin Chuan said in response to questions in the legislature.

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“It can happen, but Taiwan does not have a power shortage problem.”

The blackout, which affected close to 7 million households, was caused by “structural problems” and human error involving the replacement of equipment, the government has said.

President Tsai Ing-wen has apologised for the blackout, describing electricity supply as a national security issue and stressing the importance of ensuring the safety of the island’s infrastructure facilities.

As the premier took questions from legislators, members of the opposition Kuomintang Party (KMT) took the opportunity to express outrage about the blackouts.

“You not only have no contingency plans for the future, but you’re pushing all of us to the brink of disaster,” lawmaker Ellen Lee of the KMT told the premier.

Tsai and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have set a goal to reach a “zero nuclear” target by 2025. The island currently relies substantially on nuclear power plants for its energy production.

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The government also has a goal of producing 20 per cent of its total energy supplies from renewable sources by 2025, Lin told the legislature.