Power was gradually but slowly restored to most cities across Pakistan on Tuesday, a day after a nationwide blackout left the entire country without power.
Electricity mostly returned to the megacities of Karachi and Lahore overnight, but local and brief drops in connectivity continued.
Karachi, the country’s commercial hub, could not fully emerge from the darkness even 24 hours after the collapse, as most areas of the megacity were without power.
K-Electric spokesperson said power supply from the national grid was improving and restoration of electricity to various areas was progressing smoothly.
The buffer zone, Shadman, North Karachi, Sarjani Town, Orangi Town, Landhi Sherpao, Gulshan Hadeed, Quaidabad, Korangi, Malir, Jaffar Tayyar, Lyari, Kemari, Old City Area, Saddar and Orangi Town remained without power since Monday morning.
Power supply has so far been restored in Gulistan Jauhar, Gulshan, Clifton, Baldia, Airport, Azizabad, Civic Centre, Defence, Gizri, Qayyumabad, Queens Road and FB Area.
The spokesman said restoring power to strategic facilities was the priority. “We are in constant touch with NDTC officials for full supply of electricity from the national grid,” he added.
Lahoreites face power cut for up to 12 hours
Power could not be fully restored from the national grid on Tuesday as Lahoriites faced planned and unplanned load shedding of up to 12 hours in some areas of the city, TV channel 24NewsHD reported.
The Lahore Electric Power Supply Company (Lesco) is facing a power shortage of 900 megawatts. Lesco needs 2,550 megawatts of electricity, while it is only supplied with 1,650 megawatts of electricity, thus creating a demand of 900 megawatts.
Due to a large difference between demand and supply, Lesco is forced to manage the electricity load for one hour after each hour. Some areas of the city also faced unannounced power outages.
A massive breakdown in the national grid on Monday had triggered the worst power outage across the country in months, disrupting routine life as well as highlighting the weak infrastructure of the heavily indebted nation.
The country has witnessed partial blackouts several times in the past. But this may be the first historical breakdown that affected the entire country and lasted for several hours without recovery.
The nationwide blackout started around 7:30 a.m. on Monday, an error related to a cost-cutting measure as the country struggles with an economic crisis.
Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said on Monday evening that power was gradually being restored.
Electricity mostly returned to the megacities of Karachi and Lahore overnight, but local and brief drops in connectivity continued. Islamabad and other cities including Rawalpindi, Quetta, Peshawar and Gujranwala also reported that lights were back on.
However, some rural areas were still waiting to be reconnected.
The country’s power system is a complex and delicate network, where problems can quickly come together.
Dastgir said a variation in frequency on the national grid caused the cut, when power generation units were switched on early Monday morning.
The units are temporarily turned off on winter nights to save fuel, he told reporters earlier.
Localized blackouts are common in Pakistan, and hospitals, factories and public institutions are often kept running by private generators. But the machines are beyond the means of most residents and small businesses.
In parts of northern Pakistan, temperatures were set to drop below freezing overnight with supply of natural gas – the most common heating method – also unreliable due to load shedding.
Mobile phone services were also disrupted as a result of the outage, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority tweeted.
A similar breakdown in January 2021 affected the entire country, after a fault occurred in southern Pakistan, knocking out the national transmission system.
Reporters Habib Khan and Shahid Sipra/Agencies