Sat, Aug 19, 2017 - Page 1 News List

CPC chairman Chen quits

BLACKOUT:The state-owned firm released the results of its investigation, which confirmed its earlier findings that the power disruption was caused by human error

By Kuo Chia-erh  /  Staff reporter

CPC Corp, Taiwan chairman Chen Chin-te tells a news conference in Taipei yesterday that he has tendered his resignation. Premier Lin Chuan approved his resignation later yesterday.

Photo: CNA

CPC Corp, Taiwan (CPC, 台灣中油) chairman Derek Chen (陳金德) yesterday tendered his resignation amid mounting criticism over a nationwide blackout on Tuesday.

Premier Lin Chuan (林全) has approved Chen’s resignation, Executive Yuan spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said last night.

Chen’s decision follows Lee Chih-kung’s (李世光) resignation as minister of economic affairs on Tuesday, when a massive blackout hit businesses and households nationwide.

The outage was caused by human error during the replacement of power supply system components at a natural gas power plant in Taoyuan’s Datan Township (大潭).

“I tendered my verbal resignation to the premier on Wednesday, but he asked me to clear out doubts [about the incident] before leaving,” Chen told a media conference in Taipei, referring to questions whether CPC or its contractor Lumax International Corp (巨路) was responsible for the power disruption.

Chen said the state-owned refiner had investigated the blackout and shared its findings with the Cabinet earlier this week, as well as offered suggestions for reform.

“As so many people were affected by the incident, I wanted to extend CPC’s deepest apologies to the public and, as the chairman, I have to accept responsibility,” Chen said.

He denied that he was stepping down because of political interference or pressure from the Cabinet.

He also declined to talk about possible candidates for the position, saying he should not interfere with the company’s future affairs.

On Thursday, Chen said that CPC would seek to terminate its contracts with Lumax in the near term.

He said that CPC’s relationship with its contractors has been “too good” for too long, which resulted in flawed maintenance work.

However, at yesterday’s conference CPC spokeswoman Ann Bih (畢淑蒨) said CPC would first discuss contract terms with Lumax to determine responsibility in the blackout.

CPC vice president J.Z. Fang (方振仁), who is in charge of the company’s industrial safety department, announced the results of the company’s investigation into the incident, which he said confirmed what CPC had said earlier.

CPC and Lumax engineers were replacing power supply equipment for a control system at the Datan Natural Gas Power Plant on Tuesday, but forgot to switch the system from automatic to manual mode before starting the work, according to the findings of the 10-member investigation team.

Fang said the misstep caused two valves to automatically close, shutting off gas supplies to six generators, he said.

CPC has not yet made a decision on disciplinary measures, Fang said, declining to provide a timetable.

Additional reporting by Reuters

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