March 23, 2023
Pakistan Technology

Tens of Millions in Pakistan Left Without Power: Revival of System May Take 27 Hours

Tens of Millions in Pakistan Left Without Power: Revival of System May Take 27 Hours

On Monday, tens of millions of people in Pakistan were left without electricity due to a second “major breakdown” of the national grid in three months. Power minister Khurrum Dastagir said that a voltage fluctuation occurred between the cities of Jamshoro and Dadu in southern Sindh province and caused factories, hospitals, and schools across the country to be without power for hours. Dastagir stated that this was not a major crisis but outages were reported in multiple cities including the southern port city of Karachi, the capital Islamabad, the eastern city of Lahore, and Peshawar in the north.

The poor state of Pakistan’s power sector is a reflection of an economy that has been dependent on International Monetary Fund bailouts and is frequently experiencing electricity outages due to a lack of funds to upgrade aging infrastructure. In October, it took several hours before power was restored after a similar grid breakdown.

In Peshawar, a city of over 2.3 million people, some residents reported that they were unable to get drinking water because the pumps were powered by electricity. The power ministry issued a statement that work was ongoing to revive the system and it would take more than 27 hours. However, the minister stated that electricity had been restored in some parts of the country.

Although Pakistan has enough power installed capacity to meet the demand, especially in winter, when it mostly has a surplus, the country lacks resources to run its oil and gas-powered plants. The sector is so heavily in debt that it cannot afford to invest in infrastructure and power lines. A top power official, who wished to remain anonymous, said that “generators are too far from the load centres and transmission lines are too long and insufficient.”

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