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Power Returns to Pakistan Cities After Nationwide Grid Collapse

Electricity supplies were restored to several cities in Pakistan after a grid collapse overnight left much of the country without power.

The blackout began at 11:45 p.m. yesterday with a technical failure at a privately run 1,200 megawatt power plant operated by Hub Power Co., the country’s second-biggest generator, Power Secretary Rai Sikandar said in comments broadcast live on television.

Other power plants, including those at the Tarbela and Mangla dams, tripped as they were unable to meet demand. All major Pakistani cities including Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore, Quetta and Peshawar were plunged into darkness.

“Power has been restored in 80 percent of the country while the rest will see electricity before noon today,” Sikandar said in Islamabad today. “It’s too early to speculate why that happened and we will inform the people after a detailed investigation.”

Pakistan’s electricity demand stands at 14,400 megawatts, while the country provides 11,405 megawatts to consumers, the power ministry said on its website. The nation’s power deficit has triggered street protests and closed factories, raising the pressure on the government of President Asif Ali Zardari ahead of elections due in early May.

The nationwide outage was the third to hit Pakistan in the last decade, Dawn said without giving details.

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