India’s Mumbai faces widespread power outage, train services hit

India’s Mumbai faces widespread power outage, train services hit

Large parts of India’s financial capital Mumbai and its suburbs have faced a power blackout that disrupted train services and threw life out of gear for millions of residents.

Monday’s grid failure, the first in more than two years, was caused by “technical problems” during maintenance work, the energy minister of Mumbai’s home state of Maharashtra said in a video message.

“Power cut across the Mumbai Metropolitan Region due to grid failure,” the Brihanmumbai Electric Supply and Transport agency said on Twitter.

Adani Power Ltd and Tata Power Co Ltd, the other two power suppliers to the city said they had also been affected by the outage. Power has been restored to many areas of the city, officials and witnesses said.

India’s two main stock exchanges, the National Stock Exchange and the Bombay Stock Exchange, as well Mumbai’s international airport, said they were operating normally.

Commuters stranded

The rare outage stranded thousands of commuters across the city of 20 million, where local trains are generally packed to the full, moving more than seven million people a day to their offices and factories.

But their services have been curtailed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and they are carrying far fewer passengers than usual.

A senior railway official in Mumbai told local ANI news agency that trains on the city’s Harbour Line had resumed while they were trying to restore services on others.

The official added that long-distance trains from Mumbai had been rescheduled.

The Maharashtra state government asked the power suppliers to provide uninterrupted power to hospitals, many of which are treating COVID-19 patients. Mumbai is among the worst-hit cities by the pandemic in India.

Hospitals and other institutions in India have over the years banked on emergency diesel power generators as a backup due to frequent outages caused by demand outstripping supply, though the situation is improving now.

The local municipal bodies announced helpline numbers for the residents to call in case of emergencies.

The Times of India newspaper said final-year online exams across Mumbai colleges have been postponed due to the blackout.

India’s last major power outage occurred in July 2012, when transport services and water supplies were disrupted across six states and the national capital, New Delhi.