Worst blackout in 14 years hits 147,000 households and businesses
Singaporeans cope in different ways as worst power supply disruption since 2004 hits 19 areas
A Yishun couple fanned their sleeping young children with a book for nearly two hours.
A Bedok Reservoir resident left out torches for her elderly parents in case they needed to use the bathroom.
A Jurong West father took the opportunity to teach his primary school-going children about energy conservation after they woke up.
And as traffic lights stopped working at road junctions, drivers spontaneously resorted to hand gestures to signal to each other on who should have right of way.
These were some of the scenes that unfolded in the early hours of yesterday after Singapore was hit by its worst power outage since 2004.
The power supply disruption at 1.18am, which caused blackouts across the island, affected nearly 147,000 residential and commercial customers.
It lasted for 38 minutes - and longer for some customers - energy utilities provider SP Group said.
A total of 19 areas were affected: Boon Lay, Choa Chu Kang, Clementi, Jurong, Pandan Loop, Aljunied, Geylang, Tanjong Rhu, Mountbatten, Kembangan, Bedok, East Coast, Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Thomson, Mandai, Admiralty, Sembawang and Woodlands.
SP said: "While supply was fully restored at 1.56am, some customers continued to experience interruption as they needed to have their buildings' internal network reset."
One customer said her home was in darkness for more than two hours while another said on SP's Facebook account that his home was still without electricity at 5.13am, nearly four hours after the outage started.
SP said that preliminary findings show that a partial loss of electricity supply from two power generation companies had caused the disruption.
It declined to name the firms, citing ongoing investigations.
Seven companies generate power and feed it to the national grid, which is managed by SP.
The Energy Market Authority (EMA) said it took a serious view of disruptions to the country's power supply.
"We will review the outcome of our investigation before deciding on the actions to take," said EMA, which plans to work with the industry to minimise the recurrence of similar incidents in the future.
COPING WITH BLACKOUT
Several residents told The New Paper about how they coped during the blackout.
Mr Aaron Rodrigues, 25, said the lights on the Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) went out as he was driving home to Yishun from Nanyang Technological University.
The photographer said he was worried at first but was comforted by seeing other drivers slowing down to cope in the darkness.
After he turned out of the PIE, he was also glad to see there was no chaos even where the traffic lights were off.
"Everyone was very considerate, even using hand gestures to let each other go first," he said.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force told TNP that no accident was reported on the PIE from 1.15am to 2am.
Changi Airport Group said air traffic control was not affected by the power disruption.
While most major medical institutions were unaffected, two in Jurong - Ng Teng Fong Hospital and Jurong Community Hospital - suffered a partial power outage. A spokesman said: "The hospitals' back-up generators kicked in immediately, and operations and patient care were unaffected."
Town councils said they had high call volumes to the Essential Maintenance Service Unit, a 24-hour hotline.
A Sembawang Town Council spokesman said: "Our top priority was to ensure that nobody was trapped in the lifts. We are glad to note there were no such cases reported."
The town council said its lifts are installed with the Automatic RescueDevice where, in the event of a power outage, it will be activated to bring the lift safely to the nearest landing for residents to exit.
Many Singaporeans took to social media and SP's Facebook page to vent their frustrations at the lack of air-conditioning and fans, while some were concerned about food in refrigerators going bad.
A Yishun resident who wanted to be known only as Mr Seah, 34, said he and his wife fanned their one-year-old girl and three-year-old boy with a book so they would not wake up. But the girl still woke up because of the heat.
Driver Syed Ahmed Riadh, 45, said the heat also woke his three children, who are in primary one, five and six.
He said: "Since it was their first time experiencing (a blackout), I gave them a short social studies lesson on how people in olden days lived and how some people in other countries still live without electricity."
A two-hour blackout in 2004 affected about 300,000 households in such areas as Jurong, Clementi and Changi.