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Major power breakdown hits several cities across Pakistan

Officials say a technical fault led to the breakdown

SAMAA | - Posted: Jan 10, 2021 | Last Updated: 9 months ago
Posted: Jan 10, 2021 | Last Updated: 9 months ago


A major power breakdown hit several cities across Pakistan late Saturday.

Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Islamabad were among the cities with no power supply.

A technical fault in the power distribution system led to the breakdown, officials at the National Power Control Centre told SAMAA TV.

Sources said the fault occurred in the 500KV main transmission line. It plunged large swathes across Pakistan into darkness.

The supply was expected to be restored in the next couple of hours, the sources added.

Efforts were being made to run the Tarbela power station to gradually resume the power supply, according to a Power Division spokesperson.

All teams were present on their respective stations and Power Minister Omar Ayub Khan was himself monitoring the situation.

The spokesperson requested the public to be patient.

There were no immediate reports of disruption at hospitals, which can often rely on back-up generators.

K-Electric says it is working to restore power in Karachi and is prioritising pumping stations, hospitals and strategic installations.

A spokesperson for the company said power has been restored at the Dhabeji Pumping Station. So far, power has been restored in Landhi, Memon Goth, Baldia Town and some parts of Clifton.

Photo: Courtesy Syed Ali Hasan

Airports on backup power

According to the Civil Aviation Authority, no flight operations have been affected by the power breakdown. All airports have been shifted to backup power generators.

“All unnecessary lights have been switched off and flight operations will remain as per schedule,” a CAA spokesperson said.

Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub has said work to restore power at airports has begun.

Internet connectivity affected

According to NetBlocks, an organization that maps internet freedom, initially 62% of Pakistan’s observable internet connectivity was working. It said residential and business networks were most impacted in the blackout.

Six hours after the blackout it said there were few signs of recovery and that internet connectivity had dropped to 52% of ordinary levels.

“Metrics indicate that impact is highest at the edge of the network while critical infrastructure and telecommunication exchanges are less impacted, likely due to effective failover to backup power,” it said. However, many users reported on Sunday morning that there mobile phone signals had been impacted.

Reason behind blackout still unknown: Omar Ayub

The electricity fault started at the Guddu Power Plant and affected the country’s entire power system within seconds, Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub said.

In a press conference in Islamabad Sunday morning, he assured that the restoration of power has begun and 400 megawatts of power is being supplied to K-Electric. “We are still investigating the main reason behind the fault.”

The frequency at the Guddu Power Plant dropped from 50 to zero within a second resulting in the blackout. Ayub pointed out that due to the blackout supply of over 10,000 megawatts of electricity across Pakistan was suspended.

“We have started Tarbela twice and supply to LESCO and FESCO is underway,” he said.

It will a few more hours before power is completely restored, he said, but refused to give a timeline for the power restoration.

Ayub said fog in multiple parts of the country has made it difficult to investigate the real reason behind the blackout. Restoration was also made difficult due to nightfall.

“We can’t say anything about the fault until and unless the investigation is completed,” the minister added.

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power breakdown, Pakistan, Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, power supply, outage, power outage, electricity, loadshedding, load shedding

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