By Abdullah Zahid.
A massive electricity blackout overnight plunged much of Pakistan into darkness late Saturday, though electricity was partially restored Sunday in parts of the country.
The power breakdown in the country of around 220 million left all major cities, including the capital, Islamabad, commercial hub, Karachi, and the second-largest city Lahore without electricity for hours. The breakdown extended as far as Azad Kashmir.
Power Minister Omar Ayub Khan confirmed at a hurriedly convened early morning news conference that the power breakdown occurred due to a “technical fault” in the Guddu power plant at late night, following which the frequency in the national grid fell from 50 to zero in a matter of few seconds.
Khan explained the fault tripped the nationwide transmission system “within a second” and forced “safety systems” at power plants across the country to automatically shut down, disrupting the electricity supply.
He said, however, his ministry had not yet ascertained exactly what caused the crisis. The minister noted that teams were working to completely restore nationwide power supply and it could take several more hours before the entire system is stabilized.
“Our teams are still working in the Guddu area to investigate the reasons that caused the fault, but heavy fog is making their job difficult,” he insisted. However, they have apparently not detected any fault in the Guddu power plant, Khan added.
Netblocks, which monitors internet outages reported that internet connectivity in Pakistan “collapsed” as a result of the outage, saying connectivity was at “62% of ordinary levels.”
Taking to the social networking website, Twitter, Energy Minister Omar Ayub Khan said 500kv and 220 kv grid stations have been restored across the country and power supply has resumed in Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur, Dharki, Guddu, Rohri, Shikarpur, Dera Murad Jamali, Sivi, Quetta, Peshawar, Islamabad, Jhelum, Lahore, Multan, Sahiwal, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Sialkot, and Sargodha.
“Teams are busy restoring electricity for other cities,” he added.
This was Pakistan’s second major power breakdown in less than three years. In 2015, an apparent rebel attack on a key power line plunged around 80 percent of the country into darkness. That blackout, one of the worst in Pakistan’s history, deprived of power the country’s major cities and affected one of its international airports.
‘Memes, jokes flood twitter after power outage across Pakistan’
As national grid breakdown plunges Pakistan into darkness, netizens are fighting boredom with memes and jokes on social media.
Loadshedding and BlackOutPakistan began to trend on Twitter, with many sharing hilarious memes and jokes using the hashtag.
While restoration work is in process and electricity has been restored in several cities, twitter has been flooded with memes since the power supply was interrupted. Take a look: