Pakistan Plunged into Darkness as Heavy Rains Trigger Nationwide Power Outages

A general view of a residential area is seen during a power breakdown in Karachi, Pakistan, January 10, 2021. REUTERS/Akhtar Soomro - RC2K4L9PI1C2

Pakistan is grappling with a severe power crisis as heavy monsoon rains continue to drench the country, resulting in nationwide power outages lasting an average of 10 to 12 hours per day.

The electricity shortfall has reached a staggering 6,705 MW, according to sources cited by The Express Tribune. With the country’s total electricity production at 20,795 MW and the demand peaking at 27,500 MW, the shortfall has plunged Pakistan into darkness.

Several factors contribute to the power crisis. Technical faults have caused unannounced outages in certain regions, while areas notorious for power theft experience frequent load-shedding. Lahore, in particular, has been severely affected, with heavy rainfall causing significant damage to the infrastructure of the Lahore Electric Supply Company (LESCO). Collapsed electric poles and damaged transformers led to a 12-hour blackout, leaving over six million consumers in distress. Tragically, three individuals, including a woman, lost their lives due to electric shocks during this period.

To address the electricity shortage, the country relies on a combination of energy sources. Currently, Pakistan generates 7,349 MW from hydropower plants, 639 MW from government thermal power plants, 9,048 MW from private power plants, 534 MW from wind power plants, 123 MW from solar plants, and 2,988 MW from nuclear power plants, as reported by The Express Tribune.

The power crisis has worsened over time, with the electricity shortfall surpassing 6,500 MW in June, marking an increase of nearly 200 MW in just two weeks. Consequently, load-shedding has been extended from an average of eight to ten hours to a staggering 10 to 12 hours per day. The prolonged power outages have significantly affected the lives of Pakistani citizens, especially in major cities like Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, and Quetta. Complaints flood the distribution companies, with residents reporting power cuts lasting up to 20 hours. In Karachi, many areas suffer from three-hour load shedding multiple times a day. The scorching temperatures accompanying the outages have led to health issues, particularly among children, while the skyrocketing inflation exacerbates the population’s financial struggles.

Hospitals have also borne the brunt of the power crisis. Rawalpindi’s district headquarters hospital experienced a prolonged outage, leaving patients and staff members in dire circumstances. The lack of electricity rendered X-ray and laboratory equipment nonfunctional, while the wards became suffocatingly hot due to the absence of fans.

The nationwide power crisis, triggered by heavy rains and exacerbated by technical faults and power theft, has plunged Pakistan into a state of distress. The government and relevant authorities face the critical task of restoring electricity supply, alleviating the suffering of the population, and strengthening the country’s power infrastructure to prevent such widespread outages in the future.

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