Blackout Watch

System Power Outages

Author: Clare Duffy, ESBI, Ireland

Analysis of system power outages can help us learn and avoiding similar events in the future. If you have information on any blackouts, please e-mail to

Dhaka, Bangladesh:  A nationwide blackout struck Bangladesh at midday after a technical glitch on a transmission line linking the country to India. Sources said an unexpected dip in supply had caused a cascade of failures throughout the national power grid, with power plants and substations automatically shutting down. Bangladesh started importing electricity from India last year through the 400kV transmission line. Dhaka, which is home to more than 10 million residents, began seeing their power return the following morning.

Nairobi, Kenya:  An early morning blackout hit a large part of the country for over four hours. A major system disturbance on the Olkaria-Nairobi 220kV transmission line is suspected as the cause, which was carrying 540 Megawatts, or 63 percent of demand at the time when the outage struck.

 Sao Paolo, Brazil:   Rolling blackouts hit parts of Brazil after grid operator ONS ordered selective power cuts to avoid a potentially larger system problem. They announced they had conducted 2,200 megawatts of controlled outages throughout eight states when the hottest day of the year caused a surge of demand. In addition, the nuclear reactor Angra I automatically powered down due to a drop in frequency on the national grid.

 Lilongwe, Malawi:   Power outages struck across Malawi after two power stations located on the Shire River were damaged by heavy rains. An accumulation of silt at the Nkula power plant required the removal of several machines that were supplying 124 megawatts of electricity. Some parts of the country, including the capital Lilongwe were without power for five days and continued to experience outages in the days that followed.
 Islamabad, Pakistan:  Militants destroyed a main power supply line that resulted in the tripping of the Guddu power plant. It then caused a domino effect that later shut down the Jamshoro and Bin Qasim power stations when Guddu's transmission lines affected the 500KV power line from the national grid.  Punjab, Khyber and Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan provinces were hit hardest. Power was gradually restored in many areas the next day.

Time and location of the System & Power Disturbances in 2014 and 2015

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