Singapore

JB blackout: Singaporean family walks across Causeway to get home

Despite having heavy luggage, they got off bus after being stuck in traffic for 11/2 hours. Other Singaporeans upset about wasted shopping trips

Frustrated with the traffic congestion, a Singaporean family walked across the Causeway from Johor Baru towards the Woodlands Checkpoint despite having two large luggage bags and three smaller ones.

The 60-year-old woman, who was with her husband and adult daughter, said their Singapore-bound bus had been stuck in traffic for about 11/2 hours after a power outage in JB yesterday knocked out traffic lights and sparked chaos on the roads.

Wanting to be known only as Ms Ye, she told The New Paper when we met her at Woodlands: "The roads were completely packed and policemen were directing traffic."

Malaysian newspaper The Star reported that a huge power outage at 1.04pm had caused a blackout in JB city centre as well as the surrounding areas.

FAULTY MAIN SUBSTATION

Thousands of people were affected by the 71/2-hour power disruption, which was caused by a faulty main substation at Jalan Datuk Abdul Rahman Andak in JB.

Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB), the national power utility, said on its Facebook page that JB had suffered a 33 kilovolt "major tripping", causing electricity to be cut off in at least six areas: Jalan Harimau, Jalan Hang Tuah, Jalan Serampang, Jalan Visata, Jalan Wong Ah Fook and Jalan Yahya Awal.

While several buildings were hit by blackouts, the Customs, Immigration and Quarantine complex, hospitals and some commercial buildings continued operating with the use of back-up generators.

The roads were completely packed and policemen were directing traffic. 60-year-old Singaporean, Ms Ye, who was caught in a JB jam after the blackout knocked out the traffic lights

South JB District Police Chief Shahurinain Jais said there were no reports of injury or death because of the power disruption.

TNB's general manager in Johor, Mr Baderul Sham Saad, said power was completely restored at 7.40pm yesterday.

A visibly annoyed Ms Ye, who had been visiting relatives in Malaysia for a few days, said: "Some other people in my bus also gave up and got out so they could find another way to get home."

Their bus from Kuala Lum-pur was going through JB city centre to get to Singapore.

Ms Ye and her family walked for about 30 minutes before reaching the Woodlands checkpoint.

Many Singaporeans who had gone to JB on shopping trips told TNP that several shops could not continue their business because of the blackout.

Avril Soo, 13, who was shopping with her mother, said: "My mother was in the changing room when the blackout happened at around 2pm. We couldn't make any purchases because all the cash registers were down."

Ms P. Nirmala, 50, saw rows of shops plunged into darkness at City Square shopping mall at around 2.30pm.

She said: "The cash registers were not operating, but many of the shop staff still tried to carry on with business by using calculators and flashlights."

Many shoppers told TNP that while some shops in Johor Bahru City Square mall still had electricity, the neighbouring Komtar JBCC mall was in complete darkness.

One shopper, who wanted to be known only as Mr Torny, said he wanted to grab lunch in JBCC, but all the restaurants were closed.

He said: "They were turning away people and preparing to close. The remaining customers in the restaurants were eating with the help of flashlights."

Singaporeans also said people were waiting in semi-darkness at the JB Sentral train station.

Ms Trisha Choo, 27, was in JB for a day of shopping with her mother and sister when she received news of the power outage.

"It was inconvenient because we wanted to visit JBCC but couldn't because the entire mall was dark. We had to change our plans for the later half of the day."

Ms Jacklynne Wong, 45, a Malaysian who works as a stockbroker in Singapore, was heading home to JB at around 7pm with a fully-charged powerbank.

She said: "My sister told me that there was no electricity everywhere. She couldn't even charge her phone and she told me to come back with more portable chargers."

ELECTRICITY & POWER