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Massive power outage leaves Pakistan in the dark

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Islamabad: Several cities and towns across Pakistan plunged into darkness overnight following a major technical fault in the country’s power generation and distribution system, the energy minister said on Sunday.

The power outage was reported shortly before midnight almost simultaneously in many cities. Residents of Karachi, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Islamabad, Multan and others faced the blackout.

 

Pakistan Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan, along with Information Minister Shibli Faraz, told reporters that the power supply snapped at 11:41 pm on Saturday after a technical fault at Guddu power plant in Sindh province.

“It had what we call a ‘cascading effect’ and shut down the power system, choking about 10,320 megawatt of electricity,” he said, adding that it was the precise amount of energy needed for the entire country during the winter nights.

The minister said that the power plant’s safety systems started shutting off automatically soon after it developed a fault, the Express Tribune reported.

Khan said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has been informed of the entire situation, the report said.

He said that technical teams were working to fully restore the power supply.

The minister said that the electricity supply was restored fully or partially in many cities like Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore, Multan, Karachi and Faisalabad but it would take some time before the restoration of normal supply.

He said it was still unknown what exactly triggered the shutdown that caused the drop in the system frequency from about 50 to zero.

“Our teams are working to pinpoint the cause of sudden drop in frequency,” he said, adding that three major supply lines originated from Guddu power plant and it was not known which was the first to experience the drop in frequency.

Earlier, Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat tweeted that the National Transmission Despatch Company’s lines have tripped, causing outage. “It will take sometime before everything gets back to normal,” he added.

Information Minister Shibli Faraz said that the transmission system was old and blamed the previous governments for neglecting it.

Khan said that the country faced 8 blackouts during the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government’s tenure from 2013-2018.