Nationwide blackout hits Bangladesh

Nationwide blackout hits Bangladesh

DHAKA - A nationwide power blackout hit Bangladesh on Saturday after a transmission line failed, the government said.

Engineers "are working to fix the outage" which hit all areas linked to the national electricity grid, Masud Alberuni, a senior power ministry official, told AFP.

"The national grid tripped" close to mid-day, Alberuni said.

"As a result, all the power generating stations automatically shut down," he said.

Saturday is a weekend day in Bangladesh so the impact on industry was not as severe as if the blackout had occurred on a weekday.

But homes and shops were without electricity to power appliances.

Dhaka international airport was running on generator fuel, the power ministry official said.

Alberuni did not identify the transmission line which had suffered the problem.

But Bangladeshi media reported that it involved a transmission line transporting electricity from India to its northeastern neighbour.

Bangladesh began importing power from India late last year through a transmission line stretching from India's eastern state of West Bengal to southwestern Bangladesh.

Electricity supplies in Bangladesh, one of the world's poorest and most densely populated countries, are vastly stretched.

Growth in energy consumption has outdistanced economic growth in Bangladesh, as in other parts of the developing world, with an expanding middle-class and increasing industrialisation imposing ever-heavier loads on scant fuel-generating capacity.

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