News / Asia

Half of India Suffers Massive Power Outage

A passenger looks through the window of a stalled train as he waits for electricity to be restored at a railway station in New Delhi, India, July 31, 2012.
A passenger looks through the window of a stalled train as he waits for electricity to be restored at a railway station in New Delhi, India, July 31, 2012.
Anjana Pasricha
NEW DELHI — India suffered a second day of a massive power breakdown that affected nearly half the country on Tuesday. India experienced its worst-ever power crisis, leaving more than 650 million people without electricity.
India's transport system screeched to a halt for a second day, as trains stopped and traffic signals stalled -- stranding passengers and drivers.

India's Power Sources

Coal            56.65%
Hydro          19.13 %
Renewable:  12.09%
Gas             9.20%
Nuclear        2.32%
Oil               0.58%

Source: India Ministry of Power
Three electricity grids failed Tuesday, with power cut from as far north as Kashmir to the eastern state of Assam.  The lights went out in major cities like the capital New Delhi and the eastern city of Kolkata shortly after 1 p.m. local time.

It was the second day that India suffered a blackout - but this time it hit a far larger part of the country. On Monday, an outage affected seven northern states, leaving more than 300 million people without electricity for nearly ten hours. On Tuesday, more than a dozen states were hit.

[Indian media reports power was restored in most of the Indian capital late Tuesday, allowing train service to resume and for traffic lights to come back to life.  Officials said power was also being restored to other parts of the country, though estimates for how long it would take to get everyone back online varied.]
Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde blamed the collapse of the power system on states using more power than they were authorized.  “The reason is overdrawing of power by many states. I have put in all my people at the job, we are getting power from the western region and some other places," Shinde said. "Alternative arrangements have been made.”
  • Passengers sit in a train as they wait for electricity to be restored at a railway station in the northern Indian city of Allahabad, July 30, 2012.
  • Commuters stand on a busy road outside a Metro station after Delhi Metro rail services were disrupted following power outage in New Delhi, India, July 31, 2012
  • A general view of an electric power station on the outskirts of Jammu, July 31, 2012.
  • Commuters walk on empty railway tracks at the New Delhi railway station following a power outage in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, July 31, 2012.
  • Passengers sit on a platform for their train to arrive as they wait for electricity to be restored at a railway station in New Delhi, July 31, 2012. .

Minister Shinde said states which use more power than authorized will be penalized.
Officials say a long, hot summer and a deficient monsoon season has increased demand for power as farmers irrigate fields in rural areas and city residents run their air conditioners far longer than usual.
A map showing the areas in north and northeast India affected by the power outages.A map showing the areas in north and northeast India affected by the power outages.
A map showing the areas in north and northeast India affected by the power outages.
A map showing the areas in north and northeast India affected by the power outages.
The massive power failure for two straight days has turned the spotlight on India’s electricity deficit. Analysts have long said that the country’s power requirements have failed to keep pace with the demands of an expanding economy and a growing population. As a result, outages for several hours a day are routine across much of the country.
But a complete collapse of the kind witnessed for two straight days is unprecedented.   
A former adviser to the government on power, V. Raghuraman, said India can generate more electricity, but many power plants are lying idle because they do not have sufficient fuel. “The private sector has added enough capacity. There is not enough coal and gas so you find power is not being generated,” Raghuraman explained.
Observers say the lack of adequate infrastructure is holding back economic growth and discouraging investors -- both domestic and foreign.

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Comment Sorting
by: WW Dobson from: US
August 01, 2012 8:36 PM
This problem is less complicated than it might seem. For decades India and China have been trying to turn their huge populations into an economic asset. But as ancient as their cultures are, in one respect they are both decades behind: Understanding the consequences of cutting corners to accelerate progress. When you're too busy to worry about rampant pollution, when you're too busy to worry about the species going extinct in your country, then you are too busy.

by: Paul Felix Schott from: United States of America
July 31, 2012 6:29 PM
INSTALL A SOLAR ENERGY SYSTEM YOU MIGHT BE THE ONLY ONE WITH LIGHTS ON. This nation’s electric power grid is something most all of us think will never fail. Larger storms are putting more people without power in the dark every year worldwide.

One event not from a storm like the 2003 blackout on the northeast coast of the United States that took place. That event left over 50 million people in the United States and Canada and many from all other nations that were visitors to America in the dark for days. No TV or Radio for many. Many went without water to their second floor or beyond. Many had no running water at all. For the first time electronic banking stopped on the east coast of America.
Perhaps the only ones you can call really smart were the ones with a Solar Energy System their lights were a Lighthouse Beacon to all around. Their lights were on every night and the gate and garage door remotes still worked.

Now being the director for safety many times in my life i would say the owners of the ones that had a Solar Energy System really did care for their family.
There will be many more times the Power Grid will go down be safe not sorry. Renewable Energy is the way to go Wind, Hydro, Geothermal and others. Solar is clearly leading the way worldwide. All should look to install a Emergency Backup Power. SOLAR

by: haridas mandal from: hyderabad
July 31, 2012 2:39 PM
That's good for India. People of India will now realise the importance of Nuclear Power Plants which are in the process of being crtical but not being allowed to generate safe power.
We need so many more Nuclear Plants in this country.

by: Subhrabgshu from: Jamshedpur
July 31, 2012 12:05 PM
from this massive power failure our govt. should take lession and looking forwared for investing automic power plant projects. the project should come almost each state. The rulling party as well opision should have work togther to resolve this infastucture, rather than pulling each other leg for their own personal benifit and as result the netion is suffring.

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