World | Pakistan

Ashraf orders inquiry into Pakistan power failure

Breakdown of major plant plunges country into darkness

  • By Mohammad Ashraf, Correspondent
  • Published: 17:47 February 25, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AFP
  • This picture taken on February 24, 2013 shows Pakistani commuters driving on a street in a residential area during a nationwide power blackout in Karachi.

Karachi: Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on Monday ordered a speedy inquiry into a power failure which plunged the country into darkness through Sunday night.

The nationwide blackout for more than two hours followed the breakdown of a major plant which caused power stations to stop working across the country, officials said on Monday.

While power cuts are common in Pakistan due to chronic underinvestment in infrastructure, outages across the whole country are rare.

Electricity was expected to be restored in all areas by Monday evening.

The national electricity grid broke down just before midnight on Sunday when the Hubco Power Plant, one of the largest power generating companies in the private sector, that produces 1200 megawatt electricity, caved in.

Its failure exerted unbearable pressure on major public sector hydro power projects in northern Pakistan.

The head of the Islamabad Electric Supply Company told reporters that Tarbela and Mangla hydel power projects also tripped. The chain effect wreaked havoc on the remaining power plants of Uch and Guddu in southern Punjab.

Other smaller power generating units could not sustain the load.

Overall, the chain failure of the projects immediately developed more than a 3,000 megawatt deficit on top of the already prevailing shortage that ranged from 3,000 to 4,000 megawatt.

Following the failure of almost all the major power generating units in the rest of the country, the Karachi Electric Supply Company, that is also hooked up with the national power transmission, also sustained a blow.

The power failure entailed electricity outages from Karachi, the financial capital, in the south, to Peshawar, the capital of northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

Islamabad, the capital city, all the four provincial capitals and more than two dozens major cities suffered with more than 12-hour power breakdowns.

The power failure angered Ashraf who ordered strict disciplinary action against those who were responsible. He hurriedly convened a meeting of the ministers of water and power, finance, and petroleum and natural resources.

A committee of four technocrats and bureaucrats were constituted, which will submit its reports within a week fixing responsibility of the power failure as well as remedial and preventive steps.

Comments (3)

  1. Added 14:18 February 26, 2013

    Its surprising that a person who is a root cause of this entire energy mess is the one asking for enquiry!! as we say in Pakistan "Chor Machay Shour", Criminal Poses as the Judge.

    Abdul Karim, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  2. Added 13:17 February 26, 2013

    Please vote for the right person. We have to come out from these situations.

    Rizvi, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  3. Added 11:50 February 26, 2013

    This government has made pakistan embarassed in front of whole world,and this is height of negligence. They(Asif ali zardari's government) should'nt be voted again.

    almas, shj, United Arab Emirates

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