A massive power failure hit Pakistan after midnight, plunging major cities into darkness, as authorities struggled on Sunday to restore electricity supply in the country plagued by a crippling energy crisis. The nature of fault was not known exactly but it plunged about 80 per cent country into darkness, the fourth major breakdown of the system within the past one month.
There were contradictory statements about the reason for the breakdown. Initially television channels reported that militants had disrupted the Guddu transmission line in the troubled Baluchistan province's Nasirabad district. But, Deputy Minister for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali, later denied the breakdown was due to any terrorist activity. He said the breakdown occurred after a key power transmission line broke down in Baluchistan one hour after midnight on 24-01-15.
However, Sarbaz Baluch, who claimed to be a spokesman of the Baluch Republican Army, claimed that the defunct militant group had carried out the bombing of two 220 KV transmission lines in Notal area of Naseerabad district. Officials said that last night's breakdown resulted in many urban areas like Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Quetta, Islamabad and Peshawar plunging into darkness with hundreds of villages and small towns in all four provinces also affected.
The authorities were working non-stop to fix the problem and according to various reports electricity was gradually being restored. "Repair work to restore the transmission line has nearly been completed and power has been restored to most parts of the country," Sher Ali said. The crisis came close on the heels of the recent petrol shortage which paralysed the country for about two weeks. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who was already reeling from the petrol criticism, faced another barrage of outrage.
He took notice of the worst-ever power breakdown and issued instructions for the immediate resumption of power supply on an emergency basis. The breakdown hit amid rumours that the country's power crisis would be exacerbated as a result of acute shortage of furnace oil. Due to shortage of furnace oil, the power production from Jamshoro power plant was decreased to 170 MW from 570 MW and from 700 MW to 360 MW at Muzaffargarh plant, as Faisalabad power plant has suspended power generation. Currently the country demand of electricity is around 14,000 MW as compared to total generation of 7,000 MW.