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TEPCO probes substation fire in Saitama as cause of Tokyo blackout

Smoke rises from a transformer substation belonging to TEPCO in Niiza City
Smoke rises from a transformer substation belonging to TEPCO in Niiza City

TOKYO (TR) – Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) is probing a fire in Saitama Prefecture as the cause of a temporary blackout on Wednesday afternoon that has impacted hundreds of thousands of persons and government institutions in the capital, reports TBS News (Oct. 12).

According to Saitama Prefectural Police, TEPCO is examining a fire at a substation at a transformer substation in Niiza City as the source of a blackout that left approximately 350,000 households, including many in Tokyo’s Itabashi, Bunkyo, Nerima and Toshima wards, without electricity as of 3:39 p.m.

About 40 minutes before, a passerby to the substation notified emergency services about “smoke coming from the ground.” An unmanned operation to lay underground cable at the substation had been taking place. There have been no reports of injuries at the substation.

In central Tokyo, government offices in the Kasumigaseki area, including the Tokyo Metropolitan Police, were impacted by the blackout, with many being forced to turn to backup power supplies, according to TV Asahi (Oct. 12). As well, subway services on the Toei Oedo Line were suspended.

Power was eventually restored but there has been a delay in the restart of services for all customers. As of 4:14 p.m., approximately 800 residences in Nerima Ward had power restored, according to Nippon News Network (Oct. 12).