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June 7, 2013

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Home » Metro » Public Services

Cable failure blamed for blackout

"TECHNICAL failure" in an electric cable underneath the Huangpu River caused the blackout that plunged many areas in downtown Shanghai into darkness on Wednesday night, authorities said yesterday.

The problem disabled three transformer substations at 8:37pm, affecting Jing'an, Putuo, Huangpu and Xuhui districts.

Apartment blocks, shops and several Metro stations on Line 2 were without power for more than 90 minutes.

"We have ruled out the possibility that the cable was damaged because of improper operation of engineers or by any external forces," an official with the Shanghai Electric Power Co Ltd, the city's power supplier, said yesterday.

He said the problem section had been identified but it would take at least a week to repair.

Power would be maintained using a different section of the grid to supply the substations.

"Since it was a major 500 kilovolt cable and quite difficult to repair, engineers need about a week to fix it," he said.

The company said that after repairs are complete, a major maintenance and inspection program would be launched to ensure a stable power supply throughout the summer and no repeat of Wednesday's blackout.

When the power failed, many passengers on Metro Line 2 were trapped inside carriages. People were stopped from entering Metro stations from Zhongshan Park to Nanjing Road E. before supplies were switched back on.

People taking the elevator in department stores and residential blocks also found themselves trapped.

Police and firefighters said they received more than 50 reports of people trapped in elevators.

Emergency services at Shanghai Children's Hospital on Beijing Road W. were affected for about 10 minutes before backup generators restored power. Children and their parents at the hospital were said to have remained calm throughout.

In shops and restaurants, mobile phones became torches as shoppers completed their transactions and walked out into dark streets. Traffic lights were also without power and drivers were taking extra care at crossroads.

Some restaurants were in complete darkness while others were lit by candlelight, adding a touch of romance to the evening.

There was a blackout in the city in January when circuits were tripped due to a voltage fluctuation but it lasted only several seconds. The sudden loss of power in districts including Xuhui, Jing'an and Huangpu affected thousands of buildings and Metro stations.

Last August, nearly 500 households in Changning District suffered a power blackout after an underground explosion.

The blast on Shuicheng Road damaged cables, interrupting supplies for several hours.


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