Power Is Restored Across India After Crippling Blackout
August 1, 2012
By Gardiner Harris and Jim Yardley | New York Times: As electric power was restored across India on Wednesday, the nation’s new power minister sought to tamp down a growing argument between state and federal ministers over who was to blame for Tuesday’s unprecedented blackout.
“I don’t think one can have a blame game between the state and the center,” said the minister, Veerappa Moily.
More than half of India’s population lost electricity on Tuesday after a cascading series of problems in three of the nation’s power grids shut down power from Imphal in the east to Jaisalmer in the west, and from Leh in the north to Bhubaneswar in the middle of the country.
The blackout affected an area encompassing about 670 million people, or roughly 10 percent of the world’s population. It trapped coal miners, stranded train passengers and caused huge traffic jams in the nation’s capital.
Mr. Moily said at a news conference on Wednesday that the power supply was restored by 3 p.m. Tuesday for emergency services like railways and airports, and that by the evening the power situation was “normal.”
“I can reassure the entire nation,” Mr. Moily said. “That kind of situation will never repeat in the national scene.”
Federal officials initially blamed the northern states of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh for taking from the grid far more than their electricity allotments. Part of the reason may be that low rainfall totals have restricted the amount of power delivered by hydroelectric dams, which India relies on for much of its power needs. Another cause may be that drought-stricken farmers are using more power than expected to run water pumps to irrigate their crops.