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Taiwan suffers widespread power outage

A massive power outage left thousands of people without electricity in Taiwan on Thursday morning, with authorities blaming the grid malfunction on a sudden system failure at Hsinta Power Plant.

Taiwan Power Co. confirmed that the blackout was caused by “equipment failure” at the island’s second largest coal-fired power plant located in the port city of Kaohsiung.

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Outages were reported well beyond Kaohsiung – Taiwan’s second largest city – across the island’s southern region, as well as far in the north in the capital of Taipei.

The Tainan Science Park also reported “sudden and abnormal voltage changes” in its power supply soon after the blackout, according to Nikkei. The industrial hub is located some 70 kilometers (43 miles) north of Kaohsiung and home to a major microchip production plant used for iPhone processors.

The power company said “emergency repairs” were underway in an update posted to Facebook later on Thursday, noting that “the southern region is currently out of power, and the northern and central regions are also experiencing power outages.”

The widespread blackout comes as a US delegation of current and former defense officials visits the island this week, meeting with Foreign Minister Joseph Wu and President Tsai Ing-wen. Ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is also among the group.

A spokesperson for the president’s office, Zhang Dunhan, apologized for the inconvenience and said power would be restored as soon as possible, adding that the presidential palace remained unaffected by the outages. A planned livestream for a meeting between President Tsai and Pompeo has been “temporarily canceled,” however.

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