Macau hit by second blackout in three weeks

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 15 April, 2015, 3:16pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 16 April, 2015, 1:29am

Macau experienced its second power failure in less than three weeks on Wednesday morning, leaving around 100,000 customers without electricity.

The blackout hit up to one third of the Macau peninsula, mostly in central and northern districts, and forced some shops, restaurants and banks to close.

Police officers were deployed at a number of road crossings to direct traffic as some traffic lights were out of operation.

The affected areas included Avenida de Horta e Costa, Areia Preta and Sidónio Pais. Customers in Taipa and Coloane and the University of Macau also experienced a drop in voltage.

The Venetian casino on the Cotai Strip said its emergency generator kicked in and prevented major disruption.

Power supplier Companhia de Electricidade de Macau (CEM) said the failure occurred at 10.56am after a malfunction at the Canal dos Patos substation which is near the border with the mainland.

The facility transmits power imported from the mainland's China Southern Power Grid. Subsequently, the hitch affected four other primary substations.

The company had to activate its own generation units at Coloane Power Plant A to provide an emergency supply.

Power supplies began to resume in some areas from 11.55am, and electricity was fully restored at 12.20pm.

CEM said the power cut affected about 100,000 residents and about one third of the Macau peninsula.

Macau's fire service received 40 reports of people stranded in lifts during the power failure.

Macau's government said the Office for the Development of the Energy Sector had asked the power company to look into the cause of the power cut, and submit a report within one week.

CEM said it inspected and maintained all its substations every year. The Canal dos Patos substation was last inspected in March this year, it said.

Macau has begun to use more imported power in recent years as its government intends to keep local power production at its present level.

At present, CEM generates about 9 per cent of its electricity and acquires the remaining 91 per cent from the mainland.

On March 31, a brief power cut hit Areia Preta and Iao Hon districts in the afternoon due to a failure in an underground cable. Some 35 buildings and 4,200 households were affected.