Taiwan power blackout
People walk on a street during the massive power outage in Taipei, TaiwanReuters

A massive power blackout hit Taiwan on Tuesday (15 August) affecting more than 6.6 million households and businesses on the island . The nationwide outage was reportedly caused by "human error" and led to the resignation of Taiwan's Economic Affairs Minister Lee Chih-kung.

The power supply in several parts of Taiwan was affected after six units at the Datan Power Station, the state's fourth largest gas-fired plant, broke down. This led to a shortage of up to four million kilowatts of electricity as the facility is one of the key suppliers.

The state-run Taiwan Power Corporation has said authorities had completely restored the power supply by Wednesday (16 August) after ending the rationing of electricity on Tuesday.

Emergency services have been inundated with calls from businesses and households owing to the outage. Several people were also stuck in elevators and had to be rescued.

In total, 17 cities and counties across the heavily-industrialised island were affected by the disruption amid sweltering temperatures of around 32 degrees Celsius (89.6F).

Small businesses, shopping centres and traffic were plunged into chaos after the disrupted power supply but major facilities like airports and high-speed train services were unaffected.

Leading technology manufacturers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, Pegatron, and ChipMOS Technologies said their operations did not face a huge impact.

"It reminded me of the time when Taiwan was hit by the 921 earthquake," a woman's who surname was only identified as Lin told the Taipei-based United Daily News, referring to the massive earthquake which hit the country on 21 September 1999.

President Tsai Ing-wen was forced to apologise for the disruption and also asked the relevant authorities for an explanation. "We must reform the system. I will make this an important point for thorough inspection reforms in the future," she wrote on her Facebook account.