A nationwide energy outage in Pakistan left practically 220 million individuals with out electrical energy on Monday, threatening to trigger havoc within the South Asian nation already grappling with gas shortages within the winter months.
The nation’s Ministry of Vitality mentioned in a press release the nation’s Nationwide Grid went down at 7.34 a.m native time, “inflicting a widespread breakdown within the energy system,” in keeping with preliminary reviews.
“System upkeep work is progressing quickly,” the assertion added.
A “restricted variety of grids” within the capital Islamabad and the town of Peshawar have had energy restored, the ministry mentioned.
It’s unclear how lengthy the outage will final and efforts are underway to revive energy to varied elements of the nation.
Within the metropolis of Quetta, in Pakistan’s southwest Balochistan province, the outage has affected all elements of day by day life, together with hospitals, markets and households.
“As a consequence of unavailability of turbines, providers are affected in well being facilities in suburbs of Quetta metropolis,” the director of Balochistan’s well being division, Dr. Imran Zarkoon, instructed CNN.
Zaheer, the proprietor of a clothes store in Quetta, mentioned they haven’t any backup and have been ready for the electrical energy to be restored for hours.
“The entire market of Jinnah highway is virtually shut, as with out electrical energy prospects don’t flip to retailers,” he mentioned.
The outage comes because the nation’s fragile economic system continues to battle with a number of challenges, together with a extreme power disaster.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered all federal departments to scale back their power consumption by 30%, whereas his authorities ordered all markets to shut by 8.30 p.m. and eating places by 10 p.m.
The choice to scale back power utilization got here as Pakistan introduced its international alternate reserves had dwindled to alarmingly low ranges. In December, the nation’s whole liquid international alternate reserves stood at $11.7 billion, which is half the quantity it held at first of final yr, in keeping with the central financial institution.
Monday’s energy outage is Pakistan’s most widespread energy shutdown since 2021, when the nation plunged into darkness for hours after a “sudden plunge within the frequency within the energy transmission system.”