Taipower repairmen assaulted by frustrated customers (Taiwan News)

Taipei, August 10 (CNA) Taipower technicians were attacked in two separate incidents on Sunday in Chiayi County and Yunlin County, as individuals dissatisfied with the state of blackout repairs vented their frustrations against Taipower personnel. Both areas saw severe electrical blackouts in the wake of Typhoon Soudelor, which battered Taiwan Saturday. In Yunlin County in central Taiwan, two Taipower engineers were injured by a group of stick-wielding men, who also damaged their repair vehicles in the process. The repairmen, surnamed Zhang and Chen, were carrying out electrical repairs near a school in the afternoon when a car with three men approached. According to Zhang and Chen’s accounts, they asked “Why are the blackouts taking so long to fix?” before indiscriminately attacking them. After the attackers sped away, the two engineers continued the second leg of repairs only to be beaten again, this time by up to six young men. The two technicians then reported the incident to the local police station. The case is currently under investigation by the police and one of the men involved in the first attack has come forward to apologize for his action. The incident in neighboring Chiayi County saw Taipower personnel coming out unscathed yet significantly smellier. Dozens of fishermen, unhappy with the blackout entering its second day, threw rotten fish into a Taipower service center. In an area where much of the local economy is made up of fishing and seafood products, entire feeding ponds saw livestock die out due to hypoxia. Tsai Wen-hua (???), deputy head of Taipower’s Department of Business, Chiayi Branch, called for restraint and patience upon learning of the two separate incidents. As Typhoon Soudelor is one of the most severe storms in recent years, repair work is proving to be difficult, as obstructions such as collapsed trees, landslides and unsafe roads have limited the response by Taipower, Tsai said. More than 4.3 million households nationwide experienced power outages, the largest power loss resulting from a typhoon in Taiwan’s history. As of 10 a.m. Monday, 6,824 households in Yulin and 6,747 in Chiayi were still without power. (By Lance Yau and Angela Huang)