Pakistan says power grid restored after second major breakdown in months

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan’s energy ministry said on Tuesday it had restored its national power grid nearly 24 hours after a breakdown triggered the worst outage in months, highlighting the frailty of the aid-dependent nation’s infrastructure.

All 1,112 grid stations are back online, the ministry said on Twitter, adding that electricity will be fully restored across the country once power generation units are back up.

The outage, which began on Monday morning during the peak winter season, is the second major grid failure to hit the nation of 220 million people since October, though there are partial blackouts almost daily.

Residents in major cities said they now had electricity, but some areas of the country were still without power.

Analysts and officials attribute the power problems to an aging electricity network, which like much of the national infrastructure, desperately needs an upgrade that the government says it can ill afford.

The International Monetary Fund has bailed out Pakistan five times in the last two decades. Its latest bailout tranche, however, is stuck due to differences with the government over a program review that should have been completed in November.

Pakistan has enough installed power capacity to meet demand, but it lacks resources to run its oil-and-gas powered plants. The sector is so heavily in debt that it cannot afford to invest in infrastructure and power lines. China has invested in its power sector as part of a $60 billion infrastructure scheme that feeds into Beijing’s “Belt and Road” initiative.

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