Woodlands Checkpoint power outage: ICA deploys more generators during maintenance periods

CAUSE OF THE POWER OUT

The backup power generator failed due to “a new crack in the air duct, which forced hot air from the generator into the room instead of out of the room,” said Assoc Prof Faishal.

“As the hot air was recirculating in the room, the generator motor overheated and shut down.”

The condition of the air duct is being visually inspected and was assessed as in good condition on the morning of Oct. 8, he added.

In addition, a full load test was carried out on the generator in August.

On the morning of Oct. 8, it was “subjected to a 30-minute test drive and worked fine,” he said.

“Although the backup generator has been in operation since 1999, its usage is low. It is only used when the building’s power source is under maintenance or during a power outage. According to the specifications, it will be replaced in 2028.

“As a precautionary measure, ICA will consider whether the air duct needs to be replaced periodically in the future, even if no cracks are found.”

There was no data leak or loss during the power outage. The Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) system had started operating as designed and “provided sufficient time for the servers to properly shut down, preventing data leaks or loss,” said Assoc Prof Faishal.

EMERGENCY PLANS ACTIVATED

ICA has added “extra layers of redundancy” to protect its operations from power outages. There are also backup generators for the main power source, said Assoc Prof Faishal.

“In addition, UPS is supplied for key systems to ensure business continuity if the backup generators fail. These systems are regularly upgraded during scheduled maintenance.”

For a prolonged power outage that UPS cannot support, ICA has put in place standard operating procedures to ensure operations continue, Assoc Prof Faishal added.

“This includes activating additional manpower to assist with manual clearance, communicating and advising travelers across multiple channels to avoid non-essential travel, and rerouting traffic to the other country checkpoint.”

These contingency plans were activated during this incident.

In response to Assoc Prof Faishal, MP Tan Wu Meng (PAP-Jurong) asked whether a red team analysis would be conducted on various key infrastructure vulnerabilities – such as cyber, power supply and network cable connectivity risks.

“We will have the AAR (after evaluation of the action) carried out, and in fact the risks that were highlighted … are things that we consider as part of our business continuity plan. And in fact, to do that, agencies are working with critical infrastructure stakeholders,” said Assoc Prof Faishal.

“And we have monthly drills that don’t just look at power outages issues. We look at issues that affect our security, incidents that can go beyond power outages.”

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