World’s biggest blackout as mystery grid failure plunges 140m into darkness

A TOTAL of 140 million people have been plunged into darkness in the world’s biggest blackout.

The massive power outage in Bangladesh was caused by a mysterious grid failure, the government’s power utility company said.

140 million people were left without power

140 million people were left without powerCredit: AP
The world's biggest blackout happened in Bangladesh

The world’s biggest blackout happened in BangladeshCredit: AP
The reason for the blackout remains unknown

The reason for the blackout remains unknownCredit: AP

It remains unclear what caused today’s unscheduled blackout, which hit more than 80 per cent of the country shortly after 2pm (8.00 GMT), according to the Power Development Board.

Apart from some areas in Bangladesh’s northwest, “the rest of the country is without power”, spokesman Shamim Ahsan said.

The normally brightly lit streets of central Dhaka and other cities were dark in the evening.

It remains unclear what caused the power outage with Ahsan alleging it was caused by a technical malfunction.

He said: “It is still under investigation.”

A.B.M Badruddoza, spokesman of the state-run power grid company said half of those affected had had their power restored by the evening.

Technology minister Zunaid Palak said on Facebook that power would be restored by 8 pm in the capital Dhaka, a city home to more than 22 million people.

Bangladesh has suffered a major power crisis in recent months as a result of higher global energy prices following Russia‘s invasion of Ukraine and has imposed regular cuts to conserve electricity.

This has wrought havoc on Bangladesh’s electricity grid in recent months, with utilities struggling to source enough diesel and gas to meet demand.

A depreciating currency and dwindling foreign exchange reserves left Bangladesh unable to import sufficient fossil fuels, forcing it to close diesel plants and leave some gas-fired power stations idle.

The government imposed lengthy power cuts to conserve existing stocks in July, with outages lasting up to 13 hours a day at their peak.

The blackouts sparked widespread public anger and helped mobilise large demonstrations on the streets of Dhaka.

Bangladesh last witnessed a major unscheduled blackout in November 2014, when around 70 per cent of the country went without power for nearly ten hours.