Pakistan suffered nationwide power outages on Monday morning due to a "severe breakdown" of the national grid, the energy ministry said, with factories, hospitals and schools affected in all its major cities.
The outage began at 7:34 a.m. (0234 GMT) when there was a voltage fluctuation in the grid between the towns of Jamshoro and Dadu in southern Sindh province, Energy Minister Khurrum Dastagir. "There were voltage fluctuations and systems were shut down one by one. This is not a major crisis," Dastagir said in a report. Outages were reported in the southern port city of Karachi, the capital Islamabad, the eastern city of Lahore and Peshawar in the north.
Mohammad Asim, a spokesman for Peshawar's Lady Reading Hospital, the largest hospital in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, said back-up generators were used to ensure continuous electricity for the emergency department, intensive care unit and laboratory. The Ministry of Energy issued a statement that work to revive the system was underway, and the minister said electricity had been restored in some parts of the country.
Pakistan has enough installed capacity to meet the demand, especially in winter when it is mostly in surplus. However, the country lacks the resources to run its oil and gas plants, and the sector is heavily indebted, and underinvestment in infrastructure and power lines has meant the National Grid has suffered from frequent breakdowns.