Pakistan Rocked by Huge Blackout

  • The Ministry of Energy reported Sunday morning on Twitter that at 11:41 p.m. on Saturday (6:41 p.m. GMT) there was a technical problem at the Guddu power plant, in the north of the country.
  • Pakistan's Minister of Energy, Omar Ayub Khan, affirmed this Sunday at a press conference that the causes of the technical problem at the Guddu plant are still unknown.
  • Netblocks, a non-governmental organization that monitors internet outages, claimed that connectivity in Pakistan “collapsed” due to the blackout to “62% of normal levels.” 

As of Sunday morning, the Pakistani authorities were trying so hard to restore power throughout the country following the massive blackout which left the country in darkness shortly before midnight, an occurrence that is still being investigated by the local authorities.

People are silhouetted on vehicle headlights on a dark street during widespread power outages in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on Sunday, January 10, 2021.

A large part of the 210 million Pakistan citizens were on Saturday night left without electricity due to a problem at the country’s Guddu power plant. 

The Ministry of Energy reported Sunday morning on Twitter that at 11:41 p.m. on Saturday (6:41 p.m. GMT) there was a technical problem at the Guddu power plant, in the north of the country, which generated “the disconnection of the high transmission lines of the country”.

This “in turn caused the system frequency to drop from 50 to 0 in less than a second, ” the ministry noted, leading to the disconnection of other power plants.

The blackout plunged the country’s People are silhouetted on vehicle headlights on a dark street during widespread power outages in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on Sunday, January 10, 2021 [Anjum Naveed/ AP] major cities, including the capital Islamabad, its economic hub, Karachi, and the second-largest city, Lahore, into darkness.

Pakistan’s Minister of Energy, Omar Ayub Khan, affirmed this Sunday at a press conference that the causes of the technical problem at the Guddu plant are still unknown due to the intense fog in the area, as reported by a section of the nation’s local media.

The minister has been reporting during the day on his Twitter account of the phased restoration of electricity supply in the country, with areas of cities such as Islamabad, southern Karachi and eastern Lahore that have already returned to normal.

Although he asked for patience, he promised that the power supply will be restored throughout the country at night but added that the coal and nuclear plants will take time to recover, the hydroelectric and gas power plants are in operation.

Netblocks, a non-governmental organization that monitors internet outages, claimed that connectivity in Pakistan “collapsed” due to the blackout to “62% of normal levels.” 

Blackout in Pakistan as National power grid fails.

This is the second major blackout in Pakistan in recent years, after a similar occurrence in May 2018, a technical problem on Guddu’s 500-kilowatt transmission line caused several power plants to shut down.

However, at the time, the power outage affected only the provinces of Punjab, with 100 million inhabitants, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with about 30 million, which accounted for around half of the population of the country of 220 million inhabitants.

The issue of blackouts is very common in Pakistan. The country has experienced blackouts for very many years an issue that greatly affects negatively the normal lives of the nation’s residents as well as their businesses.

No doubt, the incidents point to a need to overhaul the country’s power transmission system to provide reliable electricity.

“It’s not the first time this has happened; the country’s power infrastructure is fragile,” Michael Kugelman, senior associate for South Asia at the Washington-based Wilson Center said on Twitter. “In the past, separatist attacks have been blamed for such outages. That doesn’t appear to be the case this time.”

In addition, some 69 million Pakistanis are not connected to the grid, according to Lighting Asia, a World Bank program to increase access to energy.

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Vincent Ferdinand

News reporting is my thing. My view of what is happening in our world is colored by my love of history and how the past influences events taking place in the present time.  I like reading politics and writing articles. It was said by Geoffrey C. Ward, "Journalism is merely history's first draft." Everyone who writes about what is happening today is indeed, writing a small part of our history.

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