Massive blackout leaves millions of Pakistanis without electricity

Several million people are currently experiencing power cuts in Pakistan. A gigantic power outage occurred this Monday morning at 7:30 a.m. local time (3:30 a.m. French time), affecting a large part of the country, including the largest cities of Lahore and Karachi. At the end of the afternoon, the problem was still not solved, the power having been only very partially restored at nightfall in the capital Islamabad and in a few other places.

Electricity cuts are frequent in Pakistan, which has faced a chronic energy crisis for years and whose distribution system is complex and dilapidated.

Gas shortage in Pakistan

The great economic hub of Karachi, with its 15 million inhabitants, and the second largest agglomeration, Lahore (10 million), were still largely deprived of electricity. “We hope power will be restored across the country by tonight (Monday evening),” Energy Minister Khurram Dastagir Khan said in a video statement.

The outage was caused by a variation in the electrical frequency on the national grid, when the power generation units restarted on Monday morning. These units are temporarily shut down at night in winter to save fuel, Khurram Dastagir Khan told reporters.

Most hospitals, industries and government institutions are equipped with generators. But households and small businesses often do not have the means to afford such equipment.

In northern Pakistan, temperatures were expected to fall below 0° on Monday evening. Gas heating is the most widespread, but is also not always very reliable, load shedding being frequent due to a shortage of gas.

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