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Pakistan restores power after grid failure

Electricity has been restored to millions of people in major cities across Pakistan after a “major breakdown” of the country’s national power grid.

January 24, 2023
By Gibran Naiyyar Peshimam and Asif Shahzad
24 January 2023

Pakistan’s energy ministry says it has restored its national power grid almost 24 hours after a breakdown triggered the worst outage in months, highlighting the frailty of the aid-dependant nation’s infrastructure.

All 1112 grid stations were back online, a senior government official told Reuters.

The official, who declined to be named as they were not authorised to speak to the media, said electricity would be fully restored across the country once power generation units were back up. 

The outage, which began on Monday morning during the peak winter season, is the second major grid failure to hit the nation of 220 million people since October, although there are partial blackouts almost daily.

Residents in major cities said they now had electricity but some areas of the country were still without power.

Analysts and officials blame the power problems on an ageing electricity network, which like much of the national infrastructure, desperately needs an upgrade the government says it can ill afford.

The International Monetary Fund has bailed out Pakistan five times in the past two decades. 

Its latest bailout tranche, however, is stuck due to differences with the government over a program review that should have been completed in November.

Pakistan has enough installed power capacity to meet demand but lacks resources to run its oil and gas-powered plants. 

The sector is so heavily in debt it cannot afford to invest in infrastructure and power lines. 

China has invested in its power sector as part of a $US60 billion ($A85 billion) infrastructure scheme that feeds into Beijing’s “Belt and Road” initiative. 

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