A day after a massive breakdown hit Pakistan, Minister for Energy Khurram Dastgir said on Tuesday that electricity has been fully restored at grid stations across the country.
However, major cities, including Karachi, Quetta and Lahore, remained deprived of power. “Power at all 1,112 stations of the national grid has been restored,” Dastgir tweeted. In a televised address at 10am, the minister explained that there was a “delay in synchronisation” between Tarbela and Mangla power plants. “But with the support of the Power Division, Wapda and other departments, we fixed the technical problem after which power at systems across the country was restored. “Today, at 5:15am, the system was completely restored across the country,” Dastgir said.
However, the minister pointed out that there will be a shortage of electricity for the next two days. He elaborated that approximately 6,600 megawatts of coal and 3,500MW of nuclear plants would take an estimated 48 to 72 hours to restart. “Until these plants start running, there will be limited load management, excluding industrial users.”
Talking about the investigation into the breakdown, the minister said that the government suspected “foreign intervention such as hacking of systems”. “But its chances are very less. There have been incidents previously and we have to rule out this thing,” he added. Dastgir also blamed the PTI government for the electricity breakdown, saying that it had not worked on upgrading the systems. However, contrary to the government’s claims, a number of areas across the country were still deprived of power as of Tuesday morning. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif apologised for the prolonged breakdown and vowed to fix responsibility.
In Karachi, outages were reported in Defence, Gulistan-e-Jauhar, North Karachi, Federal B Areas, Gulshan, Jacob Lines, Korangi, Landhi and Qayyumabad. On Tuesday afternoon, K-Electric spokesperson Imran Rana said power supply to residential and commercial feeders in the metropolis had returned to normal.
Chief executive of Peshawar Electric Supply Company (Pesco), Arif Mehmood Sadozai, said that power had been restored across the province. In a statement, he further said that power had also been restored to all the industries falling under the power’s utility’s jurisdiction. He further said that loadshedding could be carried out on a limited scale due to “load management”. On the other hand, the spokesperson of the Quetta Electric Supply Company said that electricity was partially restored across Balochistan from the 220kV Uch-Sibbi transmission line.
Separately, Lahore Electric Supply Company said that another “frequency issue” was reported in Lahore. “After yesterday’s major power breakdown, power was restored in all areas of Lesco late at night. However, load management is being done in some areas due to a frequency issue,” it tweeted. “Electricity will be restored without interruption as soon as the situation improves,” it added.
Meanwhile, US State Department spokesperson Ned Price, at a weekly press briefing on Monday, was asked to comment on whether the US had any plans to assist Pakistan to overcome energy shortage in the wake of massive power breakdown in the country. “Of course, I’ve seen what has transpired in Pakistan. Our thoughts are with all those who’ve been affected by the outages,” Price responded. He said the US had assisted its Pakistani partners across a number of challenges. “We are prepared to do so in this case if there is something that we’re able to provide. But I’m not aware of any particular requests,” he added.