Power being restored after major blackout in Pakistan

People walking through a residential area during a power blackout in Karachi early yesterday. This was Pakistan's second major power breakdown in less than three years. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
People walking through a residential area during a power blackout in Karachi early yesterday. This was Pakistan's second major power breakdown in less than three years. PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE

ISLAMABAD • Power was gradually being restored to major cities across Pakistan yesterday after it was hit by a massive electricity blackout, officials said.

The electricity distribution system in the nation of over 210 million people is a complex - and delicate - web, and a problem in one section of the grid can lead to cascading breakdowns countrywide.

Power minister Omar Ayub Khan told the press that the latest blackout was caused by an "engineering fault" in southern Pakistan at 11.41pm local time on Saturday, causing the system to trip and power plants to shut down.

"Our experts are trying to determine the exact location of the fault, which we have not been able to find out," he said.

He added that it will take "another few hours as the area is still covered in dense fog", and that power supply had been partially restored in most areas of Punjab, the most populous province, as well as the economic hub Karachi.

"We hope to bring the system back to its full capacity by this evening, but it will take some time for nuclear and thermal power plants to get operational," Mr Khan tweeted.

This was Pakistan's second major power breakdown in less than three years. In May 2018, power was partially disrupted for more than nine hours.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2021, with the headline 'Power being restored after major blackout in Pakistan'. Print Edition | Subscribe