Pakistan struggles to restore power

2013-02-25 11:03
Pakistani youth crossing a street during a nationwide power blackout in Karachi. (Asif Hassan, AFP)

Pakistani youth crossing a street during a nationwide power blackout in Karachi. (Asif Hassan, AFP)

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Islamabad - Authorities in Pakistan were scrambling on Monday to restore electricity throughout the country after an overnight countrywide blackout.

Authorities blamed a "technical fault" for the breakdown that plunged the capital Islamabad and the rest of the nation into darkness for more than two hours early on Monday.

The 560-megawatt Uch Power Station in the south-western province of Balochistan tripped due to "an imbalance in supply and demand," which caused other major plants to automatically shut down in a domino effect, an official said.

Rai Sikandar, senior official of the Ministry of Water and Power, said it technicians were trying to fix the problem.

"We cannot restart all the grid stations at once," he said. "We will gradually do that."

Local media said certain areas in Balochistan and the southern province of Sindh were still without power late into the morning.

An official at the ministry warned of similar outages due to power generation shortage, which is blamed largely on lack of investment in the sector.

Dawn newspaper reported that it was the third nationwide blackout in a decade.

Frequent scheduled power cuts lasting hours have been a daily occurrence for years, fuelling public outrage, in Pakistan.

There were protests in several cities during the hot season last year against long outages, which have crippled the industrial sector.

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