Widespread blackout lasting more than 30 minutes hits Singapore's CBD

Nicholas Yong
Assistant News Editor
The Arcade was among the buildings affected by a widespread blackout in Singapore’s CBD on Friday, 1 June 2018. PHOTO: HardwareZone

A blackout that hit commercial buildings in Singapore’s Central Business District (CBD) saw the lights and air-conditioning go out for up to 34 minutes on Friday (1 June), amid reports of people trapped in lifts and malfunctioned traffic lights.

Singapore Power said in a statement that electricity supply to parts of Raffles Quay, Robinson Road and Shenton Way was disrupted at about 2.41 pm, with an estimated 3,156 customers affected. According to eyewitnesses, the buildings affected included Chinatown Point, 18 Cross Street, Robinson Point, the Arcade, Chevron House, MYP Centre and 18 Cross Street.

Electricity supply was fully restored within 34 minutes by 3.15 pm, said Singapore Power, adding that it is investigating the cause of the disruption.

Germaine Ong, who works at a marketing agency in Tanjong Pagar, said the blackout in her building came at a time when most people were busy with meetings and discussions. “The reaction was quite muted. We’re all on laptops so the outage didn’t even disrupt most people’s work. I was on a call and only realised it was possibly a major incident when there was a building-wide announcement.”

Ong, who is in her 30s, added, “We were surprised when we heard that even the traffic lights were down but no one felt strongly enough to go out and investigate further, since I presumed our building lifts weren’t working either.”

A widespread blackout in the CBD area on 1 June affected shops at Chinatown Point. PHOTO: Catherine Leck

Over at Robinson Point, Chris Meyerer, 33, said that the lights went out for about 15 minutes. “The majority of the (people in the) office were sitting around in amazement that such a wide outage could happen. As we were sitting there chatting, the power came back on.”

Meanwhile, at 77 Robinson Road, communications specialist Zubaidah Nazeer found herself stuck on the 33rd floor as the lifts were not working.

“We thought it was going to be a temporary thing, but it lasted for a while. It got a bit stuffy. An announcement came on from the building management telling us that other buildings were also affected and that somebody’s looking into it.”

“They also asked us to remain calm. But nobody was shouting or screaming,” added Zubaidah.

Additional reporting by Hannah Teoh.