Power restored, but limited loadshedding for next 48 hours: Khurram Dastgir

By Staff Reporter | Business Recorder Jan 24, 2023

Federal Minister for Energy Khurram Dastgir on Tuesday said authorities restored its national power grid nearly 24 hours after a breakdown triggered the worst outage in months but there may still be some loadshedding for the next 48 hours. Addressing the media, he also said that there are suspicions regarding an “external interference” in the system, which will be investigated.

“Yesterday (Monday), we faced a technical challenge at around 7am, after our north and south transmission line witnessed a voltage swing. The reason behind it has yet to be ascertained,” said the minister in a press conference.

“At 5:15am today, the entire electric supply system of the country was restored. However, a two-day period is needed to restart our nuclear plants in Karachi and coal plants, which would soon restart generating electricity.

“During this period, loadshedding will be carried out on a limited level,” he said.

On Monday, Dastgir had told Reuters the grid should be fully functioning by 10:00 pm.

As for why the breakdown occured, Dastgir said PM Shehbaz Sharif has set up a three-member inquiry team, chaired by Minister for Petroleum Musadik Malik alongside senior officials, to investigate.

“We have our suspicion, which needs to be ruled out through the investigation, whether there was an external interference into our system through hacking. Although the possibility of hacking remains low, a number of such incidents have occurred recently thus raising our concerns,” he said.

“Mainly it was a technical issue that led to the breakdown,” he added.

In the press conference on Tuesday, the federal minister also said that all of LESCO’s grid stations have been restored.

“There was a delay in the synchronisation of Tarbela, Mangla and Ghazi Brotha, but fortunately, we were able to achieve it late afternoon, after which partial restoration of electricity began,” he said.

Addressing rumours, the federal minister said the entire power supply system remains secure. “I want to also share that power stations have ample amount of fuel available, we have diesel and furnace oil available.”

“There is no fuel shortage in the country,” he said, adding “we will do our best to avoid such breakdown in the future”.

Dastgir said that no work has been done on the power sector in the last four years, adding that the prime minister will soon inaugurate a large grid station in Mansehra.

The outage, which began on Monday morning during peak winter season, is the second major grid failure to hit the nation since October. It occurred on a day where temperatures were forecasted to fall to around 4°C (39°F) in Islamabad and 8°C (46°F) in Karachi.

Internet and mobile phone services were effected, while several companies and hospitals said they had switched to back-up generators as disruptions continued across the board. Many people also have no running water due to a lack of power for the pumps.

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