Power outages at offices, MRT stations in central Singapore

Power outages at offices, MRT stations in central Singapore

Chinatown MRT blackout 1
Commuters at Chinatown MRT station during the blackout. (Photo: Channel NewsAsia reader) 

SINGAPORE: Electricity supply to some areas in central Singapore was disrupted on Thursday afternoon (Feb 14), with blackouts reported at Bras Basah Complex, Odeon Towers, Carlton Hotel and several MRT stations.

The power outage was caused by equipment failure at the substation serving Carlton Hotel, SP Group said in a Facebook post.

This caused an "electricity flashover", resulting in a fire in a switch room at the hotel. It also caused power tripping, affecting supply to parts of Bugis, City Hall, Marina and Somerset, and seven MRT stations, SP Group said.

READ: Fire at Carlton Hotel in Bugis, blackouts reported

The seven MRT stations affected were on the North-East Line: HarbourFront, Outram Park, Chinatown, Clarke Quay, Dhoby Ghaut, Boon Keng and Potong Pasir.

"This was due to a dip in the power grid network. Emergency lights were turned on during this period which lasted less than 25 minutes," said Ms Tammy Tan, SBS Transit's senior vice-president of corporate communications.

"Train services were not affected by the power outage."

Boon Keng MRT blackout on Feb 14, 2019
A blackout at Boon Keng MRT on Feb 14, 2019. (Photos: Ms Ju)

SP Group said the equipment failure at the substation occurred "despite the equipment being inspected on 1 February 2019".

Electricity supply to parts of Bugis, City Hall, Marina and Somerset was disrupted at 1.09pm, and power was fully restored within 12 minutes to most areas.

"Supply was progressively restored from 1.19pm and fully restored by 1.21pm to all areas except Carlton Hotel," said SP Group. 

Electricity supply was fully restored at 6.34pm to Carlton Hotel.

"We apologise for the inconvenience caused to the public, the hotel and its guests and we thank them for their understanding and patience," SP Group said.


Witnesses reported hearing "explosions" from the hotel and smoke emitting from one of its back doors on Thursday afternoon.

Close to 1,000 people were evacuated, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force. 

carlton hotel incident feb 14 2019
Safety workers from SP Group gathered at the back of Carlton Hotel on Feb 14, 2019. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

Mr Ho Shao Dong, who was at Bras Basah Complex next to the hotel, said it appeared that the whole building experienced a blackout.

Ms Vera Ang, who works at Wilby Central along Queen Street, said that the lights in her office blacked out "for a second" and the Wi-Fi stopped working.

"A colleague who was at the coffee shop opposite the road said the same thing happened there. After that, we heard a lot of horns and sirens as fire trucks zoomed past," she told Channel NewsAsia.

sp group vehicles along victoria street
SP Group vehicles along Victoria Street. (Photo: Jeremy Long) 

Some commuters took to social media to report the power outages at the train stations.

A commuter who wanted to be known only as Ms Ju said there was a blackout at Boon Keng MRT station when she entered at about 1.25pm. She then took a train to Dhoby Ghaut MRT station, where there was also a blackout, but the power gradually came back on.

"Announcements were made at Dhoby Ghaut MRT station for commuters to use the stopped escalators as stairs as there was a minor power trip," she said. 

"They also apologised for the inconvenience."


The latest incident comes less than three weeks after a fire at the Bright Hill substation on Jan 26 disrupted electricity supply to parts of Ang Mo Kio, Bishan, Sin Ming and Thomson.

"Taken together with the incident at the Bright Hill substation on 26 January, we will conduct a thorough investigation of both incidents," SP Group said on Thursday.

In a statement on Thursday evening, the Energy Market Authority (EMA) said it is investigating the cause of the power supply disruption. 

"Depending on the outcome of our investigations, we will decide on the appropriate action to take against any party found to be responsible for the disruption. We apologise for the inconvenience caused," said an EMA spokesperson.

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Source: CNA/hm(gs)