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

9 February 2013, Maputo, Mozambique: An early morning explosion in a power station caused a massive power loss throughout southern Mozambique. The blast damaged vital equipment that effects electricity distribution and led to a sustained blackout in many areas for more than a day. The area affected is home to nearly 2 million residents.

24 February 2013, Freetown, Sierra Leone: A mechanical fault caused a serious fracture in one of two turbines at the Bumbuna Hydro plant, leading to a blackout across the country of approximately 6 million. The other turbine was later put on low regulation in order to maintain its’ sustainability. The country is currently getting its supply from the thermal-plant at Black Hall Road and other stations, but is expected to experience blackouts from April to June when the thermal plants will be undergoing maintenance.

24February 2013Islamabad, Pakistan: A rare nationwide blackout struck Pakistan late in the evening, when a technical failure caused a trip at the Hubco Power Plant. Over 5,000MW of electricity were estimated to be lost when the other plants were shut down in order to prevent damage to their systems. Power was restored to some areas within two hours, however many were still in the dark until morning.

8 March 2013, Sana’a, Yemen: A major outage affected large parts of the country and most major cities for four straight days after the nation’s main power transfer lines were attacked by tribes. The attack preceded a planned six month long national dialogue to create a new constitution and pave the way for elections next year. Attacks on the power system by separatist groups have become a common occurrence in the country since a one year nationwide protest against their longtime leader in 2011.

18 March 2013, Futaba, Japan: An electrical failure shut down the cooling systems of four spent fuel ponds at the Fukushima Nuclear power plant, causing unease among many after the 2011 Tsunami damaged the plant and caused a massive radiation leak. Tepco announced they had found burn marks on a power switchboard and a small dead rodent nearby, leading them to believe this was the cause of the outage. It took engineers nearly 30 hours to repair the damage.

10 April 2013, Jakarta, Indonesia: The capital city and surrounding areas began five days of rolling blackouts after a landslide damaged a 500 kV power line in West Java. The power supply to the area decreased by 750 MW, leading the state power firm PLN to cut power in Jakarta and West Java for 12 hours a day for five straight days

Time and location of the System & Power Disturbances in 2013

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