Pakistanpower Outage: After a major national electricity blackout, cities and towns across Pakistan, including the capital, Islamabad, plunged into darkness for several hours on Saturday night. While the power was partially restored the next day, an investigation to ascertain the cause of the outage was initiated, officials said.

Cities Plunged Into Darkness For Hours: Pakistanpower Outage
REUTERS

The system is now stable and the electricity supply in major cities of the country has been restored,” Pakistan’s Minister of Energy, Omar Ayub, told reporters on Sunday, warning that it could take hours for electricity to return everywhere.”

It is said that the latest outage is one of the worst the nation has witnessed, but it is most definitely not the first. Because of Pakistan’s fragile system of power delivery, outages sometimes happen, a problem that has previously sparked widespread street protests.

Pakistanpower Outage: Significant power outages were simultaneously registered shortly before midnight Saturday by residents of all the country’s major urban centers, including Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Multan. Several smaller cities and towns were left for hours without power, too.

Cities Plunged Into Darkness For Hours: Pakistanpower Outage

A spokesman for the Ministry of Energy said on Sunday that the Tarbela and Warsak power plants in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan had come back online, but cautioned that it would take some time to restore power in all areas of the country, AP said.

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Why did the energy outage occur?

“Ayub said that the power supply snapped at 11:41 PM on Saturday because of a “technical fault” at the Guddu power plant located in southern Pakistan’s Sindh province, speaking at an early morning press conference in Islamabad the next day. A sudden decrease in the frequency of the power transmission system from 50 to 0 in less than a second caused the blackout.

Cities Plunged Into Darkness For Hours: Pakistanpower Outage

Cities Plunged Into Darkness For Hours: Pakistanpower Outage

Pakistanpower Outage: It had what we term a “cascading effect” and the power grid was shut down, choking about 10,320 megawatts of electricity,” he said.” He later tweeted that he was personally monitoring the power restoration operations, encouraging people to stay patient. He said the team was trying to restart the Tarbela power station, which would result in the rest of the country being sequentially returned to power.

The exact cause of the power crisis, however, has yet to be determined by the energy ministry. “In the Guddu area, our teams are still working to investigate the reasons that caused the fault, but heavy fog makes their job difficult,” said the energy minister.

What has the effect been?

Many feared that the blackout would cause significant disturbances at hospitals around the country in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, as most hospitals rely on back-up generators, there have been no immediate reports of any such issues.

Cities Plunged Into Darkness For Hours: Pakistanpower Outage
EPA

People in Karachi reported to have seen long queues at gas stations in the city as people queued in their homes to buy fuel from power generators.

Internet service in the country crashed shortly after the national blackout. Users struggled to get online as, according to Netblocks, an NGO that tracks internet outages, access was at “62 percent of ordinary levels.”

Meanwhile, on Twitter, #Loadshedding and #PakistanBlackOut rapidly began to trend, with thousands posting photos of their towns and locations shrouded in almost total darkness. If the outage was a prelude to a military invasion or war, some panicked social media users even wondered.

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