Orchid Island reports power outages due to influx of tourists

Orchid Island (Lanyu), also known by other names, is a 45 km² volcanic island off the southeastern coast of Taiwan Island. (Courtesy of Taiwan Tourism Bureau)

TAIPEI (The China Post) — It is currently the peak time for touring and traveling in Taiwan.

In Taitung, more than 3,000 tourists head to Orchid Island, also known as Lanyu (蘭嶼) every day.

The electricity consumption has skyrocketed and since June, the island has faced power outages three times. On July 11 and 12, there were power outages for nearly an hour consecutively.

Taiwan Power Company (台灣電力公司) said that the Lanyu Thermal Power Plant has been in operation for over thirty-eight years, from the original supply of 11 hours a day to the current 24 hours.

The company has only prepared one to two power generators for emergencies. However, due to the spike in tourists this summer, all six power generators are used every day. 

Taiwan Power Company added that on June 21 when Vice President Lai Ching-te (賴清德) inspected the island, the output of the power plants reached a maximum load of 4,679kW.

This set a record of maximum power generation in power plants in the last 28 years and will seriously affect the island’s power supply. 

Lanyu Township Office (蘭嶼鄉公所) said that starting from June, about 1,000 tourists from Lanyu will visit the island daily for two to three days or more per week.

During the peak tourist season, more than 3,000 tourists will visit the island every day. If tourists do not work hard to save electricity, the situation of power shortages will be more frequent and serious. 

According to Chinese-language media, the head of Lanyu Township Xiamen addressed a rumor regarding residents of the island who utilize air-conditioners every day and never turn off the lights.

However, this is completely false as villagers have always enjoyed the natural breeze and actually find air conditioners to be weird, he said.

Another villager expressed that on the island, they can only use power for about 10 hours, so everyone cherishes and saves energy. 

Xiamen further expressed that in recent years, the island’s electricity consumption has been overused and the office will strive to promote the saving of electricity.

Vice President Lai added that Taiwan Power would also try to improve the power plant equipment so that the island’s electricity supply could be stable.