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Major cities across Taiwan including the capital Taipei have seen widespread power failures after a reported accident at a power plant.

The nation’s economic affairs minister, Wang Meihua, said an accident had occurred at a power plant in southern Taiwan, according to a report by state-linked Central News Agency.

The ministry would deal with the matter “urgently”, she added.

The outage affected some five million households in Taiwan, she said.

State-run power operator Taipower said there had been an incident with a transformer at the Xingda power plant in the southern city of Kaohsiung, and that they were activating backup sources of power.

The power plant reportedly provides around a seventh of Taiwan’s power.4

Taiwan-based TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip maker, said a number of its plants had experienced short “power dips”. It added that it was checking if there was any “actual impact”, said a Reuters report.

At a press conference on Thursday, Ms Wang apologised for the outage, adding that the northern parts of the island would have their power back by noon and that power would start being restored in the southern parts from midday.

Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen was set to meet the US ex-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. She said in a Facebook post that a scheduled livestream of her chat with Mr Pompeo had to be temporarily cancelled as a result.

Local media outlet Taiwan News had earlier on Thursday reported chaotic scenes at road junctions as traffic lights failed to function.

Traffic police had been dispatched to direct vehicles and fire trucks deployed across cities to deal with emergencies such as rescuing people trapped in lifts, the news outlet reported.

The island does occasionally experience large power outages. In 2017, a massive blackout hit half of Taiwan, affecting 6.68 million households.

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