Pakistan restores power

TOPSHOT – Vendors warm themselves as they light a bonfire at a market during a nationwide power outage, in Muzaffarabad on January 23, 2023. A massive power breakdown in Pakistan on January 23 affected most of the country’s more than 220 million people, including in the mega cities of Karachi and Lahore. (Photo by Sajjad QAYYUM / AFP)

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AFP) — The national power grid was restored in Pakistan, the energy minister said on Tuesday, a day after a nationwide breakdown left most of the country’s 220 million people without electricity and caused tens of millions of dollars in industry losses.

The outage started around 7:30 a.m. on Monday, a failure linked to a cost-cutting measure as Pakistan grapples with an economic crisis.

Energy Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan said the grid was repaired around 5:15 a.m. but load-shedding would continue over the next two days as coal and nuclear plants were brought back online.
“Industry will be exempt from this load-shedding,” he told reporters in Islamabad.

Electricity returned to urban centers overnight, including the mega cities of Karachi and Lahore.

Secretary general of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association Shahid Sattar estimated losses of $70 million to the sector, Pakistan’s largest exporter and crucial booster of foreign exchange reserves.

Around 90 percent of factories shut down on Monday with gas supplies too “patchy” to stand in, he said.

“Each time there is a power cut the mill has to be restarted from scratch, which takes up a lot of time and resources,” he told AFP.

“We can’t pick up from where we stopped. All that thread that’s in the middle of being dyed and treated, et cetera, cannot be used again. So we face massive losses that way.”

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