Blackouts Illuminate India’s Power Problems

Weak links in the grid prove difficult to fix

4 min read
Kolkata cut: Life went on during the biggest blackout in history. This barber in the eastern city of Kolkata worked by candlelight.
photo: Bikas Das/ap photo

Photo of barber in the eastern city of Kolkata working by candlelight.KolKata cut: Life went on during the biggest blackout in history. This barber in the eastern city of Kolkata worked by candlelight.photo: Bikas das/ ap photo

For two consecutive days in July, India experienced blackouts that took down large portions of the country’s power grid. The second outage was the largest in history, leaving more than 600 million people, nearly a tenth of the world’s population, without electricity. The blackouts brought renewed attention to the country’s power sector, which is struggling to supply India’s growing demand. They exposed weak links in the transmission system, inadequate fail-safe systems for preventing cascading failures, and a lack of proper outage planning.

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Greg Mably


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