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Pakistan’s massive electricity shutdown throws life out of gear

India links up South Asia with regional energy connectivity (Photo: ANI)

Pakistan’s power outage on Monday has thrown life out of gear, adding to the South Asian nation’s woes which is already facing a deep economic crisis. The massive breakdown affected operations in the country’s banks, hospitals, government and private offices among others. While authorities hoped to restore power by Monday night, several cities in Pakistan continue to be without power even after 24 hours. The outage affected mobile and internet networks too in many areas.

Local media organisation The News said that the breakout happened due to the government’s energy-saving measures. The measures backfired as the technicians were unable to reboot at the right time after they turned off power “during low usage hours overnight to conserve fuel across the country”.

The outage has further led to panic among the citizens, many of whom rushed to fuel stations to fill gas.

The news organisation reported that in Peshawar, Lahore, and other cities, long queues of vehicles were seen at almost every fuel station due to the shortage of oil amid the countrywide power breakdown. “Petroleum Dealers Association provincial chairman said there was no fuel at 50 percent of the petrol pumps in Peshawar,” it said, adding that the country’s textile sector too suffered a massive loss of about $70 million so far due to the ongoing countrywide breakdown.

This is not the first time the country experienced such a massive outage. This is the second outage of this scale but the country has been facing a power crisis for months.

Driven by the global energy crisis in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war, power outages have already intensified in cash starved Pakistan with many urban places being forced to live without electricity for several hours. The power situation in the rural areas is worse. Though Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had earlier asked the necessary authorities to look into the matter, an analyst said that the issue has not been resolved.

The country’s electricity production is significantly lower than the demand.

The country’s power distribution system was also affected during the devastating floods last year. Scores of people in the country were forced to live in the dark as power generation was hit.

Also read: Watch: Karachi, Lahore hit by major power breakdown across Pakistan