Nationwide blackout hits Bangladesh

Nationwide blackout hits Bangladesh

Saturday, November 1, 2014 2:14 pm

Blackout in Bangladesh

Blackout in Bangladesh

A massive nationwide power blackout hit Bangladesh on Saturday after a transmission line failed, leaving homes, businesses and shops in the densely-populated country without electricity.

Power was restored in some parts of the capital Dhaka after several hours, and authorities said they hoped to have electricity back on across the nation of 155 million by Saturday evening.

Local media said the problem stemmed from a technical problem at an electrical substation that was distributing power from India, but government officials would not confirm the reports.

Engineers “are working to fix the outage”, senior power ministry official Masud Alberuni told AFP, adding that all areas linked to the national electricity grid had been hit.

The national grid “tripped” close to mid-day, Alberuni said.

“All the power-generating stations in the country automatically shut down in a cascading effect,” he added.

The outage marked the first time the whole country has been without power since November 2007 when Bangladesh was hit by a devastating cyclone, Alberuni said.

– Hospitals hit –

The blackout hit at the weekend, lessening the impact on industry. Temperatures have also passed their summer peak, limiting complaints over the stoppage of fans and air conditioning units.

Many people in rural chronically energy-short Bangladesh, used to regular power cuts lasting many hours, did not know that the blackout was nationwide.

But homes and shops went without power, and elevators were halted.

The presidential palace, the prime minister’s office, government offices and television stations were all hit by the outage.

Hospital intensive care units functioned on back-up generators, but ward patients suffered.

Power returned to Dhaka’s international airport after several hours in which it was forced to run on generators, officials said.

“We have already restored power to some parts of the capital and we can hope we can restore power to the whole country by the evening,” power development board spokesman Saiful Hasan told AFP.

Power ministry official Alberuni did not identify the transmission line which had suffered the problem.

But Chowdhury Alamgir Hossain, a director of the state-run Power Grid Company of Bangladesh, told the Dhaka Tribune newspaper the blackout occurred after a transmission line transporting power from India through a “high-voltage” substation failed.

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