Mr Leon Perera: To ask the Minister for Trade and Industry (a) what is the extent of the power failure on the afternoon of 26 January 2019; (b) what are the reasons for the failure; (c) what has been the trend in occurrences of such power failures in the past five years; and (d) what steps are being taken to minimise such failures going forward.
Oral Answer (to be attributed to Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Dr Koh Poh Koon)
1. Mr Speaker, the power failure that occurred on 26 January at 1:30pm affected around 27,000 consumers in Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Sin Ming, Toa Payoh, and Thomson.
2. Based on EMA’s preliminary investigations, the disruption was likely due to an equipment fault at a substation at Bright Hill. The suspected cause is a faulty voltage transformer which started a fire in the substation. Immediately after the fire was detected, electrical protective devices were automatically activated to isolate the fault so that the downstream equipment would not be damaged. This resulted in the cut in power to the affected consumers. SP Power Grid (SPPG), the national grid operator was able to restore supply to 80% of affected consumers within 30 minutes and fully restored power supply to the remaining 20% of consumers within 90 minutes.
3. This is the first power failure incident involving a faulty voltage transformer in the past five years. Our power system remains one of the most reliable in the world. Over the past six years, Singapore’s average annual disruption per consumer ranged from 12 seconds to 4.2 minutes, which includes the most recent incident. In comparison, major cities such as Osaka, New York, Hong Kong and London experienced an average disruption per consumer of between 5 minutes and 21 minutes in FY17.
4. EMA will thoroughly investigate each incident and take appropriate regulatory action if necessary. SPPG has since adopted higher frequency of condition monitoring for the specific equipment that had failed, and will prioritise the replacement of that particular component in future rounds of substation maintenance. SPPG has also set up an internal investigation committee to investigate the incident. In addition, SPPG has engaged the Original Equipment Manufacturer’s experts to review and advise if the failure was due to design, manufacturing or material defects. SPPG has also engaged an independent expert, CHUBU Electric from Japan, to review the findings and recommendations of the equipment manufacturer. EMA will continue to work closely with SPPG to ensure high standards of reliability for our power system.
12 FEB 2019