Thursday, September 15, 2011

Today's Blackouts Caused by Incompetence, Not NK Attack

Unreasonably high temperatures, coupled with reduced electricity production due to maintenance, caused power blackouts in many parts of South Korea on Thursday. With North Korean hackers knowing all the passwords to computers running the South's infrastructure, widespread failures in the electricity network have often been expected as a precursor to a North Korean attack, but according to a government spokesman the damage on this occasion was entirely domestic in origin.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy said it didn't know the exact cause of the outages, but an initial probe suggested that the blackouts may have been due to a decision by the government-owned Korea Electric Power Corp (KEPCO) to take several power plants off-line this morning just minutes before the first power failures began. "There were many power plants that began their annual maintenance as the hot season passed. Demand was unusually high today while they were preparing for the cold season", a ministry official explained. "I don't want to prejudice the results of a full investigation, but it might not be a coincidence." said another official.

KEPCO said that as the country's electricity reserves fell to 6% - far below the 7% level considered safe - it had to cut off homes to avoid a complete depletion and nationwide blackout, which could take weeks to repair if there are not enough batteries available to start up the computers in the control rooms of Korea's perfectly safe nuclear power plants. And while the principle of restarting a nuclear power plant by using jumper cables connected to twenty Hyundai Accents are well understood, it is an entirely untested procedure, with the exception of the notorious 'Gori-1 Friday Night Incident' during which the Ministry of Factual Economy said no data of any kind was recorded.

Power outages were reported in various parts of Seoul, including the financial district of Yeouido, with up to 100,000 houses in Gangwon Province alone being affected. Engineers fixed the capacity problem by cutting off power to the city of Busan instead. Politicians and citizens in Seoul praised their quick thinking, which averted a more serious incident, but many said that KEPCO should not have turned off its power plants for maintenance in the middle of a heatwave, which is typically a time of high electricity usage.

The government have promised to send KEPCO a television so that they can avoid additional incidents by watching the weather forecasts.

Related Links
Unseasonably High Temps Lead to Power Outages
Unexpected heat wave leads to temporary blackouts
Citizens caught off guard by blackout
Power blackouts strike across the country
Simulated Nuclear Plant Attack Turns Real

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