(ORDO NEWS) — A nationwide power outage in Pakistan left nearly 220 million people without power on Monday, threatening to wreak havoc in the state, which already runs short of fuel during the winter months.
The country’s Energy Ministry said in a statement that the National Grid went offline at 7:34 am local time. According to initial reports, “system recovery work is progressing rapidly,” the statement said.
“A limited number of networks” in the capital Islamabad and the city of Peshawar have restored power, the statement said.
The outages come as the country’s fragile economy continues to grapple with multiple challenges, including a severe energy crisis.
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif ordered all federal agencies to cut their energy consumption by 30% and his government ordered all markets to close by 8:30 pm and restaurants closed by 10 pm.
The decision to cut energy consumption came after Pakistan announced that its foreign exchange reserves had fallen to an alarmingly low level. In December, the country’s total liquid foreign exchange reserves stood at $11.7 billion, half of what it was at the start of last year, according to the central bank.
The power outage on Monday was the worst power outage in Pakistan since 2021, with the country plunged into darkness for several hours after a “sudden power failure in the power transmission system.”
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