PETALING JAYA: The failure of a switchgear in the Kapar power station brought four states and Putrajaya and parts of Kuala Lumpur to a standstill in a five-hour power blackout in the southern region of the peninsula.
Tens of thousands of motorists were caught in a snarl and millions of people had to have their lunch either in candlelight or out in the open when power failed at 12.16pm.
This is the fourth major power failure to hit the country since 1985.
Policemen were mobilised at traffic light junctions to ease the massive lunchtime congestion.
Firemen were also called to rescue those who were stuck in lifts.
In the Klang Valley, 12,000 people were affected when the LRT and Komuter train services came to a standstill. Some of them were trapped in tunnels but were quickly evacuated.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, who was also one of those affected when the National Biodiversity Council meeting in Malacca was disrupted by the blackout, demanded an explanation from Tenaga Nasional Bhd.
“I hope TNB will make sure there will be no more blackouts,” he told reporters.
The power company blamed the outage on a busbar failure at 12.16pm, in the switchyard area of the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah power station in Kapar.
According to TNB deputy president and deputy chief executive officer Datuk Abdul Hadi Mohd Deros, the situation could have been worse, had they not carried out load shedding and limited the outage.
“When the busbar failure occurred, there was a loss of 1,700MW from the grid and we controlled a nationwide power failure by islanding the grid into four zones – north, east, central and south.
“The power failure in the central grid affected the transmission tripping of two substations, KL (east) and Pudu Ulu, which supplied electricity to major areas in the city.
“The southern states were affected because we had to load shed the loss of energy from the grid. If we did not isolate the transmission of energy through the islanding system, the power interruption would have also affected the northern and eastern states,” he said at a press conference in TNB's head office at Jalan Bangsar.
He, however, apologised to its one million affected consumers for the incident.
Power supply to parts of Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya was restored by 2pm and by 2.30pm in Malacca.
Abdul Hadi said that power supply to Negri Sembilan and Johor were restored at 2.50pm.
When asked whether the blackout was a result of sabotage by employees dissatisfied with no assurance of bonus and increments, he said preliminary investigations indicated that this was not so.
“The next board meeting will discuss the issues raised by the unions,” he added.
Energy, Water and Communications Minister Datuk Seri Dr Lim Keng Yaik, who also attended the biodiversity meeting in Malacca, rushed to Kuala Lumpur to attend a briefing by TNB officials.
He later told reporters that TNB would submit a full report on the power failure to him as soon as possible.
Kluang in Johor was the last area to get back its power supply at 5pm.
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