Power was restored in India by late Tuesday night following a massive blackout that affected almost 700 million people.
The outages were said to be commonplace in India but public anger spread after the network collapsed for the second time in less than 36 hours. Citizens blamed the Congress-led government’s poor power management and outdated infrastructure. According to the FT, India’s power demand has been growing by an estimated 6.5 to 8.5% a year and shortages of fuel have undermined the country’s power generating capacity.
A major monsoon deficit has also been blamed: farming states such as Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh were forced to draw additional power to run their irrigation pumps for crops.
During the outages, several Japanese manufacturers in affected regions relied on backup power. Although they are accustomed to outages, they are worried that prolonged interruptions could push already rising energy costs.
Millions of households in India do not have electricity at all. According to the Wall Street Journal, less than 50% of the population were directly affected by the blackout.