Govt under fire over handling of NT West blackout - RTHK
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Govt under fire over handling of NT West blackout

2022-06-22 HKT 15:45
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  • Govt under fire over handling of NT West blackout
The government has come under fire over its handling of the power outage in parts of the New Territories on Tuesday, as lawmakers complained about what they see as the lack of efforts to keep the public informed.

DAB lawmaker Holden Chow on Wednesday criticised the response of key officials, saying it was unacceptable that they only clarified the situation after power had been restored.

He also questioned why the government did not trigger the emergency alert system to notify people of the latest developments.

"We understand that the government had spent hundreds of millions of dollars in developing this system. But this was an emergency case, we are asking the government why they didn't kickstart the entire alert system to alert the people. So that is something the government should account for," Chow said.

Chow’s party mate, Ben Chan, said the power outage revealed the need to strengthen the city's infrastructure.

"Just one bridge can cause so many people have a dark night, it is very serious," Chan noted.

Gary Zhang, who represents the New Territories North constituency in Legco, said Hong Kong is not sufficiently prepared for such a large-scale power outage.

"In the past, we sort of assumed that this scale of power suspension could never happen in Hong Kong, but it did happen. That's why I think we need to make a cross-departmental and coordinated contingency plan to address the different issues to really learn from this lesson," he said.

"We should conduct drills and exercises to get the public to understand the scenarios and participate in the contingency arrangement."

Legislator Tony Tse from the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape sector said power firm CLP should revisit the design and use of the cable bridge that caught fire.

He said the bridge carried three power cables to supply electricity to tens of thousands of households in the vicinity.

"From a risk management angle, it's not desirable. In the design of electricity supply, if one of the cables has been damaged, the other two can continue to supply electricity and supplement those areas affected. But this time, because the three cables are so close, many areas were affected," he said, adding that there should also be better planning in new development areas.

Chan Siu-hung, who's an election committee lawmaker and a senior adviser to CLP, described the blaze as "very rare".

He said it is important to look into what had caused the 30-year-old cable bridge to burn down.

"The cables that are basically fire retardant, and they have the aluminium protection to safeguard any mechanic forces. The bridge should be designed to cater for any power outages or any cable breakdown," he said.

Govt under fire over handling of NT West blackout