Dhaka, Oct 4 (EFE).- Nearly three-fourth of Bangladesh was left without electricity for hours on Tuesday due to a failure in the national power grid, affecting more than 130 million people, a government official said.
More than 70 per cent of the country was hit by the sudden outage due to the national grid failure at 2.04 pm local time, Bangladesh Power Development Board spokesperson Shamim Ahsan told EFE.
Panicked citizens queued up to buy diesel for running generators, while the price of candles skyrocketed after the national grid failure.
Ahsan said that at least 130 million people were affected by the blackout and that the authorities were trying to restore the power supply gradually.
“We are working tirelessly to restore (the lines). Power has already returned in a few areas. Hopefully, the problem will be solved in a few hours,” Ahsan added.
The spokesperson revealed that different government authorities have launched investigations, conducted by at least three different committees, into the incident.
This is the first major national grid failure in Bangladesh since 2014 when around 70 percent of the country went without power for nearly 10 hours.
Energy-starved Bangladesh has been experiencing a power shortage for months, forcing the government to announce a series of measures to reduce power consumption.
The government in July ordered the closure of all diesel-run power plants due to high oil prices in the global market.
On Jul.7, the Bangladesh government imposed a ban on decorative illumination during events at homes, community centers and shopping malls as well as both government and private-sector offices.
Other austerity measures included reducing the use of air conditioners, keeping their temperature above 25 degree Celsius and asking people to complete wedding celebrations by 7pm.
The government on Aug.5 hiked fuel prices by about 50 percent, raising concerns about price inflation amid an economic downturn.
Bangladesh’s inflation has remained consistently high in the past few months, reaching 7.48 percent in July, and 7.56 percent in June, which marked a nine-year high.
For the first time in a decade, the Bangladesh government requested the International Monetary Fund for a loan as the country was forced to impose measures to limit the use of fuel.
Although the government did not reveal the amount of the loan, media reports claimed it was to the tune of $4.5 billion to ease pressure on the country’s balance of payment amid depleting foreign exchange reserves. EFE