Minister warns of ‘a limited loadshedding’ in next 48 hours

ISLAMABAD      –        The government will probe the involvement of foreign hands in the recent power breakdown as the electricity supply has yet to be fully restored even after the lapse of 40 hours. While addressing a press conference here yesterday, Federal Minister for Power Division, Khurram Dastagir, said that the government suspects foreign interference, like hacking of power system, could involve in the breakdown, however, its possibilities are very rare.

“But looking at previous incidents, we must rule out this possibility,” the minister added. Khurram Dastagir said that the Prime Minister had constituted a three-member committee to probe the power breakdown incident. The committee led by Minister of State for Petroleum Division Dr. Musadik Malik would also probe any involvement of foreign hand in hacking of the country’s power system, he maintained. The committee will submit its report within seven days, the minister added.

It is worth to note here that the entire Pakistan was plunged into darkness Monday morning, following a major power breakdown in the country’s grid. The minister claimed that power system has been restored in major parts of the country on Tuesday at 5.14 a.m. However, he said that there would be a two-day power outage for next 48 hours as the nuclear power plants required 48-72 hours to start supplying electricity to the system. Similarly, the synchronization of coal power plants took about 48 hours, he added.

However, he said that one unit of each Sahiwal and Engro Coal Power plants began operations on Monday. There would be limited power load-shedding for the next 48 hours, he added. Nevertheless, the minister assured that industrial consumers would be exempted from power loadshedding. The power minister also ruled out a fuel shortage and added that there was enough fuel in the country to restore the power system. He acknowledged that they tried not to use power plants that require a lot of fuel while keeping in mind the electricity bills people have to pay. According to him, January had the lowest power demand in the country, and it stood at 8615 MW on Monday night.

Despite the widespread outage, some areas in the federal capital and Peshawar had continuous power, he said, adding that there was no outage in flood-affected Sindh and Balochistan. The Minister once again blamed PTI government for not investing in the transmission and generation systems over the last four years. He also blamed PTI for not upgrading the transmission system in response to rising demand. Several months ago, some parts of the country had experienced limited power outages as a result of the PTI government’s installation of 20-year-old conductors in critical power plants. He claimed that the HVDC Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line, which was completed as part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), only has a few safeguards.

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