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Power breakdown plunges Pakistan into darkness

Power breakdown plunges Pakistan into darkness thumbnail

Pakistan was plunged into darkness after a key power transmission line broke down early on Sunday in an incident blamed on a rebel attack, the latest reminder of the country’s crippling energy crisis.

The power failure, one of the worst Pakistan has experienced, caused electricity to be cut in major cities throughout the country, including the capital Islamabad.

It was later restored in much of the country, with the national power company saying normal distribution would resume within hours.

Officials said the blackout began after midnight when a transmission line connecting a privately-run power plant to the national grid was damaged.

A senior official at the National Grid station in Islamabad said around 80 percent of the country was hit by power breakdown.

An AFP reporter in the eastern city of Lahore said the airport was also affected by the breakdown.

Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali later issued an apology and said electricity had been restored in most of the country, blaming the breakdown on rebels blowing up the line in Naseerabad district, which lies in southwestern Baluchistan province.

A spokesman for the national power company said that “electricity has been restored in all parts of the country.”

“Some 6,000 megawatts of electricity has been added to the national system and within a couple of hours distribution will be normal,” the spokesman said.

Pakistan’s electricity distribution system is a complex — and delicate — web and a major fault at one section often leads to chain reactions and breakdowns of power generation and transmission.

In addition to chronic infrastructure problems, the energy sector is also trapped into a vicious “circular debt” brought on by the dual effect of the government setting low electricity prices and customers failing to pay for it.

State utilities therefore lose money, and cannot pay private power generating companies, which in turn cannot pay the oil and gas suppliers, who cut off the supply.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif cancelled his trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos to deal with a severe petrol shortage at home.

The fuel crisis began last week when Pakistan State Oil was forced to slash imports because banks refused to extend any more credit to the government-owned company, which supplies 80 percent of the country’s oil.

Solving Pakistan’s energy crisis was a key campaign pledge for Sharif in the run-up to the 2013 general election, and the shortage is heaping fresh pressure on his government.

Yahoo – AFP

18 Comments on "Power breakdown plunges Pakistan into darkness"

  1. ghung on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 7:57 am 

    Failed states,, with nukes.

  2. Davy on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 8:13 am 

    I have mentioned multiple time here about grid instability. We need to look to those countries that have unstable grids now as education for those of us who only experience this on rare occasions like a storm or mechanical breakdown. This grid instability is going to go a step further most likely with service triage as BAU dies. As limits of growth, diminishing returns, and carrying capacity overshoot coalesce in the bumpy descent TPTB will have no choice but to triage out regions or social segments in a drive to protect the core. This will be the last acts of BAU much like the bodies reaction to hyperthermia.

    I have mentioned multiple times to mitigate this likely scenario we need to now invest in low cost, low tech, end-user dispersed, low power, and robustly reliable AltE of every kind per the comparative advantage each of our locals. In most cases that is wind or solar. Communities could have a higher level of AltE needs to administer critical services and emergency services. This is not going to happen as it needs to because BAU does not have a decent meme. BAU participants look to increasing complexity, efficiency and energy intensity of the grid. Bigger is better. More centralized the better. The sources of BAU needed to transition out of BAU are only employed by those BAU minorities who are prepping lifeboats or have a profound concern for AGW.

    AltE will not survive BAU demise and complexity and energy descent. It is at the highest level of production and distributive complexity. It will be among the first to go with high tech of all kind with abandonment and dysfunction. This is why it is critical to build out any AltE we can big or small. Even the big AltE sources can be salvage by locals when the descent is in full swing.

    The change in attitude and lifestyle is the other abstract component of this transition. We will have to learn to live within the seasons and the allowance of the natural low intensity energy sources offered to us. BAU lifestyles have no future in this respect. Let us build less nascar tracks and more AltE. It is my hope that the coming financial and energy crisis will allow a period of adjustment and mitigation that will facilitate a big push towards those energy sources, lifestyles, and attitudes needed to survive BAU’s demise. Time is short and the systematic support of BAU diminishing daily. At some point BAU AIN’T but we will still be here dumb founded like those times we reach for the light switch and there is nothing. We have to be ready to prepare rapidly once BAU decays because BAU may end suddenly. It will take all those ideas we talk about here to transition. Let’s keep spreading the words of doom and prep to adapt for when that day comes.

  3. ghung on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 9:10 am 

    Meanwhile “ISLAMABAD: At a time when many countries are offering financial incentives to promote the use of clean energy, Pakistan has imposed a 32.5 percent tax on the import of solar panels, a move experts say is likely to hit demand for solar energy.”

  4. bobinget on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 9:41 am 

    50 minutes ago

    (Transmission towers blown up)

    Islamabad: An apparent rebel attack on a key power line plunged around 80 per cent of Pakistan into darkness on Sunday, the latest reminder of the country’s crippling energy crisis.

    The power failure, one of the worst Pakistan has experienced, caused electricity to be cut in major cities nationwide, including the capital Islamabad, and even affected one of the country’s international airports.

    It came as a fuel crisis grips the country, forcing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to cancel his trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

    Consumers often fail to pay already low state-mandated power prices in Pakistan, meaning state utilities lose money and cannot upgrade infrastructure.

    The latest power failure began after midnight when a transmission line connected to the national grid was damaged in an explosion, officials said, apparently carried out by a separatist group in restive Baluchistan province

  5. Plantagenet on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 9:48 am 

    Islamic terrorists strike again!

  6. dolanbaker on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 9:56 am 

    Outage blamed on terror attack, but was it? The electrics in many of those countries is so overloaded that a blown transformer is more likely to be caused by equipment failure due to overload.

    It’s easier to blame “terrorists” than to admit that the system is failing.

  7. bobinget on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 10:36 am 

    Pakistan should be THE Poster Child for peak oil.

    It’s impossible to run any industrial economy w/o
    reliable electrical power.

    With diesel and gasoline no longer cheap and available for ICE portable generators, civil unrest inevitably results.

    Just imagine Saudi Arabia or any MidEast city with no summer air-conditioning for an extended period. Almost all ‘modern’ dwellings, office buildings today are AC imperative.

    Factoid: Because AC units are less efficient then heating it takes more energy to cool a structure then to heat it.

    Take note SunBelt residents.

    As for pricing out solar panels, this is a clear demonstration of government corruption and
    corporate greed.

    One of Pakistan’s main supporters remains Saudi Arabia. The Saudis sponsored Pakistan’s “Islamic Bomb”

    . It’s an open secret.
    Pakistan delivered nuclear weapons to Saudi Arabia in 2013.

    While Saudis are obviously creating chaos
    in countries other then Iran and Russia by flooding
    oil markets. We know that. We failed to deduce;
    Why major oil shortages in Pakistan?

    Is it precisely because KSA is flooding markets, like the US, where any ‘Glut’ would first be observed?
    (internal US crude oil storage is highest in 80 years)

    Saudis, the least transparent crude oil reporters.
    The US, perhaps, the most truthful.

    The other day I charged Saudi Arabia with shorting
    markets with obvious prior knowledge that oil was going lower. If you believe I’m full of it, open this:

  8. Kenz300 on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 11:55 am 

    Pakistan needs energy………

    Pakistan needs jobs………..

    Distributed wind and solar generation can provide both energy and jobs.


    Dizzying Renewable Energy Price Declines Can Help States Meet Ambitious Carbon Targets Under The EPA’s Clean Power Plan


    Some parts of the world see the future in alternative energy.

    Asia’s renewable energy future – YouTube

  9. Tom on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 6:35 pm 

    Is there any better way to create an incubator for terrorism than to deny an unstable Islamic country the ability to generate electricity needed to have a vibrant economy? This is exactly what the U.S. has done for at least a decade by sabotaging the financing and construction of the Iran-Pakistan-India natural gas pipeline. The gas supplied to Pakistan would be used to support industry and to generate electricity.

    If the young radicals of Pakistan were gainfully employed and had a viable future, they just might not be hellbent on becoming terrorists. If the “friendship’ pipeline existed, Iran, India, and Pakistan might have good reason to see a future of cooperation rather than deep hatred and fear of each other. And the U.S. just might not be pushing nuclear power plants on India which will generate more fear between Pakistan and India – and possibly lead to a nuclear conflagration between these two rivals.

    Where is the good for the U.S. policies for the three countries? And where is the good for the U.S. when our energy policies in this region of the world are helping to create and maintain a hotbed for the creation of terrorists?

  10. redpill on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 7:21 pm 

    “In addition to chronic infrastructure problems, the energy sector is also trapped into a vicious “circular debt” brought on by the dual effect of the government setting low electricity prices and customers failing to pay for it.”

    Tom, this has been a problem in Pakistan for years, and has been of their own doing. Cut subsidies, get assassinated. Tackling the problem of people stealing grid power would probably require the military, another no go.

    I think Pakistan’s problem is that it is ungovernable, except maybe by the military. So perhaps it’s their own military that likes things just the way they are?

  11. Makati1 on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 7:34 pm 

    Signs of things to come in the West. Can you imagine the power going out in the Northeast US this week? For those who don’t know, they are in the beginning of a blizzard week of below freezing temps and snow. Electric powers everything except fireplaces and wood stoves.

    I always built/lived in total electric homes and once someone told me that that was a bad idea if the electric went off in the winter. I asked them what their heat source was and they said: “an oil furnace”. I told them to go home and look at the furnace and see if it had an electric connection. lol.

    Electric pumps the water up to the tank on the roof of our condo tower. It runs the elevators that make it easy to live in our 32 story building. It powers the street lights that makes getting across the city possible. THOSE are the reasons I am getting out of the city ASAP.

    The electric system here is not big enough to power all of the economic growth and is constantly being expanded. We have blackouts, but they are of short duration, usually storm caused. Nothing new to a boy who grew up in PA with snow and ice taking out power lines for days at a time. Still happens and will propabaly get worse.

  12. Davy on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 7:55 pm 

    Damn, did I just read that? Mak just said something negative about his beloved P’s.

  13. redpill on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 9:04 pm 

    Davy, I think the Makati1 “handle” is a time share, so to speak.

    And lastly, do check out the recent documentary on Putin. Frontline’s “Putin’s Way”


  14. Speculawyer on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 10:20 pm 

    Makati1 is in Pakistan? Ah, well that explains all the nutty paranoid conspiracy theories.

  15. GregT on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 10:27 pm 


    I am sure that Makati has spent more time living in the US than you have, and he has probably contributed more to your society as well.

  16. GregT on Sun, 25th Jan 2015 10:37 pm 


    I checked out the frontline piece on Putin. Did you check out the link that I provided outlining how the US could stage a violent coup in Russia?

    Didn’t think so. There are always two sides to a story. Only listening to one side very seldomly reveals he truth.

  17. redpill on Mon, 26th Jan 2015 12:10 am 

    GregT, you obviously did not “check out” that piece. Otherwise you would have something specific to comment on.

    Like how Putin can lament that the break up of the Soviet Union was the greatest geopolitical tragedy since…yet it is Putin who grants a pardon to the person most responsible for that breakup. Weird.

    And your rebuttal is from the highly respected “Libya360”? Perhaps you could offer a different source?

  18. GregT on Mon, 26th Jan 2015 11:01 am 


    Putin’s Way is a re-edit of material from both the BBC and CBC based on a book written by Karen Dawisha titled ‘Putin’s Kleptocracy’. Dawisha attempted to have her book published through Cambridge University Press, but it was rejected due to libel issues. While there is no doubt that corruption is rampant throughout the Russian political spectrum, the same can be said for every other political institution on Earth. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Putin has the support of the Russian people with a ~90% approval rating, the same cannot be said for our leaders in the West. Recent polls suggest that Obama has an approval rating of ~47%, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen harper has an approval rating of only ~27%.

    Putin was a KGB agent? Bush Senior was the director of the CIA. The Russian apartment bombings? 9/11. Chechnya? Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Syria.

    My source is a powerpoint presentation given by Russian liberal opposition parliamentarian Ilya Ponomarev, to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, an unelected liberal think tank in Washington DC partially responsible for dictating foreign policy to the US Federal Government in clear violation of the Constitution of the United States of America.

    The PBS, the BBC, and the CBC are all government funded organizations. Lybia360 is the blog of Alexandra Valiente. In his own words:

    “After years of serving as a volunteer advocate for Amnesty International, I was no longer content to submit futile appeals to perpetrators of crimes.

    Armed with case histories and life stories of the casualties of empire, inspired by their dignity, honor, integrity and courage when confronted with evil, I now aim to expose the forces at work behind world events and as best I can, within my range of resources and abilities, present the truth with the hope that it will open hearts and minds.

    My geopolitical focus is global rather than regional, except when events in particular nations reflect or involve the working out of a planetary agenda. My editorial choices are based on two priorities: to give a voice to the marginalized (including genuine revolutionary movements) and to clarify what is confusing by connecting what may appear to be isolated and unrelated events. Be assured there is a pattern of intent and nothing we are witnessing today is a result of random forces.

    As for whose side I am on regarding global conflicts: I am on humanity’s side.

    I neither ask nor receive payment for this task. This is my contribution to healing, peace and understanding during this extremely dangerous and complex time when our choices and actions will determine whether we as a species have a future.”

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