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August 31, 2011

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Hundreds hit in downtown blackout

HUNDREDS of homes and businesses in the downtown People's Square area suffered a blackout for hours yesterday afternoon when an elevated wire was tripped by a construction team, officials said.

A worker was shocked in the accident and was in stable condition after hospital treatment.

The blackout caused the traffic lights to go out at Tianjin Road and Jiangxi Road M. in Huangpu District. Power was restored to the area after a rush repair, said the Shanghai Electric Power Co.

"A company was renovating its glass curtain wall there and one of the workers touched the wire," said Liang Jiasheng, a media officer of the power company.

"The company is responsible for the power failure and should be charged compensation for all the loss," Liang said.

The blackout occurred about 1pm when a worker on scaffolding outside the building at 50 Tianjin Road, which belongs to the Shanghai Fuel Co, touched a 10-kilovolt elevated wire with a metal tube in hand, witnesses said.

The man was shocked and bounced against the wall.

"He was conscious and could talk and his hand was burned," according to a witness.

The worker was rushed to Ruijin Hospital by ambulance. He was able to leave the hospital hours later, the hospital said.

The touching of the wire caused an automatic tripping operation of 12 transformers in the area, leading to the blackout of hundreds of households, office buildings and stores, Liang said.

A bank on the first floor of the building where the incident occurred used generators to maintain some operations while its lobby remained dark.

Liang said power was restored by 3pm.

Liang appealed to companies, especially construction firms, to be more aware of power facilities in areas where they're working, as similar damage has happened many times across the city.

Part of the downtown Huaihai Road area suffered a power failure on June 13 because of "an external force" that caused a tripping of a 110,000-volt substation there.

A power failure hit downtown Xuhui District on March 10 after a 200,000-volt cable pit at Huaihai Road and Huashan Road caught fire during construction. That failure caused a huge breakdown of Metro Line 2, with thousands of passengers evacuated.


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