Pakistan blackout: Cash-strapped nation cuts power to save money, then can’t turn it back on

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Islamabad — Hospitals, schools, factories and tens of millions of homes across Pakistan were left without power Monday after the country’s electricity grid suffered a nationwide outage. The huge blackout, right as parts of the country struggle through a harsh winter, was blamed by the country’s federal energy minister Khurram Dastgir-Khan on a surge that knocked out the network.

In a bid to conserve Pakistan’s rapidly-dwindling fuel supplies, electricity is often cut off during low usage hours overnight, especially in the winter when demand is highest. Dastgir-Khan told the Geo News network that power units were switched off Sunday night, but when technicians tried to turn the system back on at dawn, the network failed.

Power was still being gradually restored on Monday evening, but the blackout highlighted the creaking energy infrastructure in the country of 220 million people, which is already in the midst of an economic crisis driven by overwhelming national debt and depleted foreign cash reserves.




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