An attack by terrorists on power transmission lines in Naseerabad, Balochistan, late on Saturday night caused the national grid to trip, plunging over 80% of the country into darkness, Express News reported.
The attack disrupted the 220 kilovolt Amperes (kVA) line from the Guddu power plant in Sindh to Sibi in Balochistan. This caused a cascading effect by tripping the 500 kVA national transmission line and forcing a number of power stations offline at around midnight.
Minister of State for Water and Power Abid Sher Ali told Express News that the “terrorist attack” had caused the national grid to trip.
He added that key power officials were present in the control room and were working to restore electricity and it was expected that power to most areas would be restored by morning.
The cascading effect of the national grid tripping forced Bin Qasim and Jamshoro thermal power stations to go offline as all power companies in the country were affected.
The breakdown left many parts of Sindh, including parts of Karachi without power. K-Electric, which supplies 650 mega watts of power to Karachi, explained that a trip of the National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC) line was having a cascading effect and had de-synced their supply.
Due to the power outage, the Dhabeji and Gharo pumping stations stopped functioning and supply of water to Karachi was interrupted.
In Punjab, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Multan and Gujranwala faced power outages.
Five hours after the outage began, however, power was restored to some areas.
Fault in Quetta-Sibi transmission line
Balochistan saw a major breakdown in power supply with as many as 23 districts, including Quetta, were plunged into darkness at 10 minutes to midnight.
“The technical fault was developed near Guddu-Sibi 220 kVA transmission line. Power supply suspended to 23 districts of Balochistan,” a Qesco official said.
The spokesperson said that officials have been sent to detect the fault and restore power.
The affected areas include Quetta, Kachi, Sibi, Mastung, Kalat, Khuzdar, Loralai, Zhob, Naushki, Ziarat, Harnai, Muslim Bagh, Qila Saifullah, Qila Abdullah, Pishin, Khanozai, Kharan and other areas.
Saturday’s power outage follows similar outage last month where large parts of the country were left without power after a fault that emanated from the Guddu power plant.
The prime minister too has taken notice of the breakdown.
The Ministry for Water and Power said early on Sunday morning that efforts were underway to restore power and that generation at Guddu and Uch-I had been restored, nearly three hours after the outage began.
Additional measures to restore power include taking support from hydel generation.