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.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
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.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violencei
Lenny Ruvaga
November 27, 2014 7:05 PM
The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America