Nationwide power cuts plunge millions into darkness in Pakistan
Image credit: reuters
Pakistan suffered a major power cut over the weekend, plunging millions of homes nationwide into darkness.
The outage was blamed on a fault with a power plant in the south of the country. Pakistan’s main Tarbela power station in the north-west was fired up in order to deliver a restoration of power in the rest of the country in phases.
“A countrywide blackout has been caused by a sudden plunge in the frequency in the power transmission system,” Pakistan’s power minister, Omar Ayub Khan, wrote on Twitter in the early hours of Sunday.
The blackout was initially reported on social media by residents of major urban centres, including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad and Multan. The minister and his spokesman then took to Twitter to update the country.
Pakistan is no stranger to power cuts, with many essential facilities such as hospitals choosing to rely on local, diesel generators to ensure an uninterrupted supply.
The country suffered a complete breakdown in its electricity network in 2013 when another power plant developed a technical fault.
Last year, Pakistan announced plans to revamp its national electricity grid in order to lower its carbon impact. It wants 30 per cent of its energy to come from renewables by 2030, up from the present 4 per cent share.
The plan will primarily focus on wind and solar power, although geothermal, tidal, wave and biomass energy will also enter the mix. The new policy was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic as negotiators tried to resolve disputes with individual provinces.
Climate change mitigation policies have often been struck down by Pakistani politicians in the past, although the country finally passed a major bill in 2017 which established a policy-making Climate Change Council, along with a Climate Change Authority.
In 2019, the reliability of the UK’s power networks was called into question after it emerged that a third of UK businesses had suffered a power cut in the previous year.
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