Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Saturday, Feb 24, 2024

Firm blames Hong Kong blackout on staff lacking alertness, poor cable labelling

Firm blames Hong Kong blackout on staff lacking alertness, poor cable labelling

About 44,000 households were affected during the incident on April 19.

A major electricity supplier has blamed a 48-minute power outage that affected 44,000 households on Hong Kong Island last month on the insufficient alertness of staff and poor cable labelling.

HK Electric on Monday presented the findings of its final report into the blackout, and confirmed it was caused by a short circuit triggered by an accidental connection to a spare cable during refurbishment at a switching station at Cyberport in Pok Fu Lam.

The company said about 44,000 households were affected during the incident on April 19.

The firm’s operations director, Francis Cheng Cho-ying, said that type of incident was rare and highlighted that it was HK Electric’s first major power interruption in almost three decades.

Francis Cheng (left) and Ip Sung-tai explain the firm’s findings.


“The incident is most regrettable and we apologise again for the inconvenience caused to our customers,” he said.

“We will learn from this lesson and enhance our operations to sustain our commitment to delivering a reliable electricity supply to our customers.”

The outage lasted from 12.49am to 1.37am, and caused traffic lights to malfunction on Hong Kong Island. Police said between 10 and 20 sets of traffic lights were still out of order at 6.25am in Central, Western, Eastern, Southern and Wan Chai districts.

HK Electric said the incident was triggered at 12.45am during the refurbishment and commissioning of switchgear at the Cyberport switching station, which houses a 275kV supply system.

The firm said the short circuit triggered by the accidental connection to a spare cable led to a severe power disturbance.

Voltage collapsed to near zero for about half a second, causing all three interconnector circuits between HK Electric and CLP Power’s systems to disconnect automatically.

One coal- and one gas-fired unit in Lamma Power Station were severely disrupted and had to be shut down manually, which meant insufficient electricity generation to meet the load demand.

HK Electric engineers at the system control centre began to restore electricity to customers after restoring the interconnector circuits with CLP Power. The entire power restoration was completed at 1.37am.

Businesses and households were left without power on April 19.


“The spare cable was inadvertently energised because one of the energy management system circuit diagrams did not clearly mark the connection of the spare cable circuit,” HK Electric general manager Ip Sung-tai said.

“And the ‘spare’ labels on site were not sufficient to indicate that the spare cable circuit was connected to the switchgear.

“The engineer in charge was unable to identify the presence of the spare cable circuit because it was fully concealed by a fire-rated steel enclosure.”

HK Electric said it had taken immediate improvement measures including suspending all refurbishment works until new commissioning guidelines were formulated and disconnecting all four spare cable circuits including the one in the incident.

The firm is also set to update all site labels showing details of the spare cable circuits and related circuit diagrams by the end of June. Counter-check requirements have been adopted for commissioning of all gas insulated switchgear.

Cheng stressed the engineering staff had followed guidelines to perform site checks.

“I believe the employee failed to see there was a problem because he was not alert enough, handling tasks based on past experience instead of verifying when questions arise,” he said.

“Had there been clear labelling, staff would not have to spend too much effort on verification, so I think it was not their sole responsibility.”

HK Electric says it has taken immediate measures to rectify the problems that caused the blackout.


Under a reward mechanism in its contract, HK Electric is expected to yield an additional return of HK$7.4 million (US$942,723) because there was an 0.015 per cent incentive adjustment for power restoration within 65 minutes.

Cheng emphasised the mechanism was based on the firm’s annual performance, not on a single incident, and did not say whether the company would be rewarded or give any return earned to affected customers.

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department said it was concerned about the incident and would examine the report in detail with an independent third-party expert to evaluate whether the identified cause was well-founded and improvement measures were appropriate.

Lawmaker Edward Leung Hei said he found HK Electric’s explanation unacceptable.

“The Electricity Ordinance clearly states that electricity supply should not be connected to a fixed electrical installation unless the power supplier has done an inspection and is satisfied that it is safe,” he said.

“The authorities should look into the incident to see if any regulations have been breached.”

Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
0:00
0:00
Close
It's always the people with the dirty hands pointing their fingers
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
'I am not your servant': IndiGo crew member, passenger get into row over airline meal
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
×