World’s worst power cuts since 2000


A woman checks her mobile phone while standing by the door at her home during the seven hours power outage in Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 2, 2022. — Reuters/File
A woman checks her mobile phone while standing by the door at her home during the seven hours power outage in Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 2, 2022. — Reuters/File

PARIS: Massive electricity blackouts, like those suffered by Bangladesh on Tuesday, have become increasingly frequent.

Here are some of the worst cases in recent years:

Central Asia, 2022 

Three ex-Soviet neighbours, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, suffer one of the biggest blackouts in their grid-sharing region’s history on January 25, 2022.

Millions of people are affected by the outage, which halts subway trains, flights, elevators and even the chair lifts in ski resorts.

Pakistan, 2021 

A technical fault at one of Pakistan’s biggest power plants sparks a massive grid breakdown on January 9, 2021, plunging the entire country into darkness.

Seven employees of the Guddu plant are suspended for negligence over the blackout, which lasts around 18 hours in most areas.

Indonesia, 2019 

Tens of millions of people on the Indonesian island of Java are affected by a blackout on August 4, 2019 that plunges the sprawling capital Jakarta — home to about 30 million people — into darkness.

The state power utility blames the failure of a gas turbine at a major power plant as well as disruptions at another facility.

Argentina, Uruguay, 2019 

A massive blackout leaves around 48 million people without power in Argentina, neighbouring Uruguay and parts of Paraguay on June 16, 2019.

The mid-winter cut has the most affect on Argentina, which has a population of more than 44 million, and hits all of Uruguay, which has 3.4 million inhabitants.

Venezuela, 2019 

Venezuela is in the middle of a severe economic and political post-election crisis when the lights go out in most of the country on March 7, 2019 and remain off for a week.

More than a dozen patients in hospitals die, public transport comes to a halt, production slows in the vital oil sector and tap water stops flowing, forcing citizens to turn to sewage outflows and polluted water sources.

Analysts blame decades of underinvestment in the electricity grid.

Bangladesh, 2014 

Bangladesh suffers a nationwide blackout on November 1, 2014 that turns the capital Dhaka (15 million people) into a ghost town, and leaves even the prime minister’s office in darkness.

The state-run Power Grid Company of Bangladesh blames the failure of a transmission line from India for the blackout.

India, 2012

The world´s worst-ever power blackout takes place in July 2012 in India, where the near-simultaneous collapse of the networks serving 20 northern, eastern and northeastern states leaves more than 600 million people without electricity.

High demand from industry, homes and offices was blamed for overwhelming the grid.

Western Europe, 2006 

On November 4, 2006 a breakdown in the German network plunged a large part of western Europe into darkness for almost an hour.

Northeast America, 2003 

On August 14, 2003 the worst power cut in US history affected 50 million people in the northeast of the United States, including New York and part of Canada, at the height of summer.

Thousands of people were trapped in the New York subway and in the skyscrapers of elevators and thousands more were forced to bed down on the street for the night amid massive traffic gridlock. After nearly 30 hours the lights came back on.

Nigeria, 2001 

In Nigeria in June 2001 up to 50 million people lost power for several days following the collapse of a giant pylon in the east of the country.

Brazil, 1999 

On November 10, 2009, a short circuit on a power line knocked out power to 50 million people, sowing chaos for several hours in Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other cities.



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