Taiwan official resigns after blackout hits much of island

By THe Associated Press

Taiwan's economy minister has resigned after a generator failure at a power plant caused a massive blackout that affected millions of households across the island during sweltering heat.

In this Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017, photo taken from video, locals exit a shopping arcade during an island-wide a power blackout. Taiwan's economy minister has resigned after a generator failure at a power plant caused a massive blackout that affected millions of households across the island during sweltering heat. (Eastern Broadcast Company via AP Video)

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Taiwan's economy minister has resigned after a generator failure at a power plant caused a massive blackout that affected millions of households across the island during sweltering heat.

The power outage plunged traffic, shopping malls and offices into darkness early Tuesday evening.

Taiwan's Central News Agency said that "an operational technical error" caused six generators to stop working at Taiwan's biggest natural gas power plant.

Taiwan's economy minister Lee Chih-kung apologized at a news conference and said the person who made the error would be punished. His ministry is responsible for power supply.

CNA says 6.68 million households were affected in the capital, Taipei, cities Taichung and Tainan and three counties in the center, west and southwest of the island of 23 million people. There were almost 8.5 million households in Taiwan at the end of 2015, according to the Ministry of Interior.

The defense ministry said back-up power supply ensured no disruption to military operations.

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