LARGE swathes of the country on Thursday, including Sindh, Balochistan and Punjab, experienced a major power breakdown.
The routine life came to a grinding halt for hours as power shortfall of 8,000MW emerged following tripping of transmission lines that affected multiple cities across Sindh, Balochistan and southern Punjab.
Technical fault at Guddu Power House is being attributed as the cause of the breakdown and according to the Energy Ministry the electricity system across Pakistan was restored after hectic efforts of the technical teams.
The prompt restoration of the power supply is surely encouraging but frequent major power failures point to some fundamental flaws in the transmission and distribution system.
A similar blackout was witnessed in January 2021 when the entire country including the capital Islamabad plunged into darkness for hours due to a ‘technical’ fault at the same Guddu power station.
The then Energy Minister Omer Ayub had claimed that the fault tripped the nationwide transmission system “within a second” and forced “safety systems” at power plants across the country to automatically shut down, disrupting the electricity supply.
The nation was assured that technical steps would be taken to prevent recurrence of such a situation in future but Thursday’s breakdown proved the claims were only a lip-service and nothing worthwhile was taken on ground.
Earlier, in September 2006 a national blackout was witnessed when a fault occurred in the Tarbela transmission line.
On the basis of past experiences, it is rightly being apprehended that flaws in our transmission system could be exploited by saboteurs and, therefore, urgent measures are needed to bifurcate the system at the lowest possible level to avoid country-wide cascading effects.
This should be the priority with the Government as investment on this project is worth-making in view of its economic significance.
Any increase in generation would not ensure supply security until and unless the system is reformed and modernized to sustain pressure.