This past Saturday, January 24th, a nationwide blackout occurred in Pakistan. The blackout began just before midnight when two transmission pylons, in Naseerabad, Baluchistan province, were destroyed. As reported by the Express Tribune, this failure cascaded through the system, “tripping the 500 kVA national transmission line and forcing a number of power stations offline.” Pakistan’s Minister for Water and Power, Khawaja Muhammad Asif, apologized for the outage and blamed separatist rebels in Baluchistan for the attack.
Rizwan Tasum/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
Pakistan’s lack of investment in infrastructure and physical protections for transmission substations was a contributing factor in the shutdown, and is concerning. Lack of investment is due, in part, to regulated energy prices and limited funds. Though companies have increased their energy generation capacity to help cope with regulated prices, they have not been able to generate sufficient profits for necessary investments in transmission systems improvements.
- Appropriate application of security technologies
- Investments in additional substations
- Implementation of random anti-terrorism measures (RAM)
- Response protocols and training for utilities staff and local authorities