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After months of anticipation, the much-anticipated energy crisis finally occurred, but it happened in Pakistan, not Europe. On Monday, Pakistan experienced a nationwide blackout after an attempt by the government to save energy backfired. The blackout left Pakistanis without electricity or water for over 12 hours.
With the country on the brink of economic collapse, in an effort to cut energy costs, government officials decided to turn off electricity nationwide overnight on Sunday evening, given that Pakistan has mild winters and electricity usage is at its lowest during overnight hours. Catastrophe struck Monday morning when technicians discovered that the country's energy grid is not capable of booting up the electrical system for the entire nation at once. Pakistan's capital Islamabad, as well as other major cities and small towns across the country, were without power or water for 15 hours.
Energy Minister Khurrram Dastgir told local media that "As an economic measure, we temporarily shut down our power generation systems" Sunday night.
When engineers attempted to bring the system back online Monday morning a "fluctuation in voltage" occurred, which "forced engineers to shut down the power grid" across the country, Dastgir explained.
While some schools and hospitals were able to turn to generators for power, millions of people were left not only without power but also drinking water as many electric-powered pumps failed due to the blackout. In an effort to ensure safety, authorities deployed additional police to markets around Pakistan as the sun went down.
Monday's incident was not the first time that Pakistan has had a nationwide power outage. A similar massive blackout occurred in January 2021 and was attributed at the time to technical problems with the country's power generation and distribution system.
The blackout this week has renewed pre-existing nationwide distrust of the government's tactics and abilities. It has also sparked fears and outrage over the government's poor handling of Pakistan's increasing economic crisis.
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