A citywide electricity outage in Malé around 1:00pm on Sunday afternoon disrupted water and telecommunication services in the capital.
An official from the State Electricity Company told the press that an earth fault problem with a high-voltage transformer inside the Malé Water and Sewerage Company building caused the power cut. All the generators at STELCO subsequently shut down.
Electricity was restored in some areas of the densely-packed capital after more than two hours. According to MWSC, water services resumed citywide after two hours but pressure might be low until electricity is fully restored.
Nooshin Waheed, a lecturer at the Maldives National University, told the Maldives Independent that she heard a loud bang coming from the MWSC building just before electricity went out.
The MNU building is adjacent to the water company premises. “As I was climbing down from the stairs, I saw through the window two people running on the roof of MWSC building. Probably to deal with whatever happened,” she said.
Water services were disrupted as MWSC relies on electricity provided by STELCO.
“Due to electricity failure in Malé, some areas may experience a drop in water pressure and service interruption,” the water company tweeted earlier.
“We are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible and apologise deeply for the inconvenience caused.”
In December 2014, a fire at the MWSC’s desalination plant left the capital’s 130,000 residents without running water for nine days.
Sunday’s power outage also caused disruptions at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital. An official told local media that a backup generator was used to provide electricity to the operating theatre and the intensive care unit.
Mobile phone and internet services also faced disruptions. Public services meanwhile came to a halt as government office buildings emptied out. Several shops also closed temporarily.
People trapped in the lift at IGMH due to sudden power failure today. pic.twitter.com/OD0tMeAIg0
— RaajjeTV (@Raajje_tv) March 5, 2017
We are in the process of restoring power. Regret for inconvenience .
— STELCO (@STELCOMALDIVES) March 5, 2017
Additional reporting by Hassan Moosa.