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In PHOTOS: Pakistan plunges into darkness

Last updated on: February 25, 2013 09:20 IST

Pakistan plunges into darkness

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Cities across Pakistan, including the capital, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar, plunged into darkness on Sunday after a major breakdown in the national power grid, officials said.

The blackout began at about 11.30 pm after a privately run 1,200 MW thermal power plant in southwestern Balochistan province developed a fault and stopped generating electricity.

"The HUBCO (Hub Power Company) plant developed a fault and the load was transferred to the Mangla and Tarbela hydel projects but they tripped. After that, several smaller powerhouses tripped," Javed Parvez, CEO of the Islamabad Electric Supply Company, told the media.

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The Mangla and Tarbela power projects had resumed generating electricity and efforts were being made to restore the supply of power to cities in phases, Parvez said.

Power had been restored in parts of a few cities, including Islamabad, he added.

The Prime Minister was monitoring efforts to restore power supply. Parvez declined to say how long it would take to bring the entire national grid back on line.

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Photographs: Reuters

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Television news channels reported that almost 80 per cent of the country was without power.

The blackout affected operations at several airports and railway services.

Reports said most cities in all four provinces were without power, including Peshawar, the capital of northwestern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, and Quetta, the capital of southwestern Balochistan.

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Image: Men are silhouetted while they walking through a computer market during a power outage in Karachi
Photographs: Reuters

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Reports said more than 30 grid stations had tripped in Karachi, the country's largest city.

In Balochistan, at least 18 districts were affected by the blackout.

The fault developed in the national grid line led to the major breakdown in the 1200 megawatt Hubco powerhouse in Sindh followed by the Mangla and Tarbela power stations also tripping.

"Around 3,500 megawatts of electric supply was disrupted tonight because of the fault in the national grid line," said Javed Pervez, the chief of the Islamabad Electric Supply Company.

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Image: Technicians work on power lines supplying electricity in Lahore
Photographs: Reuters

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Geo News channel reported power supply had been badly disrupted to even the rural areas including small towns and villages in Sindh, Baluchistan and Punjab provinces.

Pervez said the trouble had started with a technical fault in the Jasco power plant which led to the breakdown.

"We have started slowly restoring power supply in the country but the entire system will take around three hours to be restored," Pervez said.

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Tags: Pervez , Sindh , Punjab , Jasco

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Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Prime Minister's house said the premier had ordered an inquiry into the power breakdown.

Experts in the Ministry of Power and Water said keeping aside the Karachi Electric Supply Corporation which is a private entity national power plants produce around 9,000 megawatts of power in the country.

"Around 3,500 megawatts supply was disrupted initially and when the load was shifted to other power stations like Mangla and Tarbela tripped and led to this major breakdown," one expert said.




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