Via CBC News, a report by The Associated Press: India blackouts widen as 620 million left without power. Excerpt:
Power Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde blamed the new crisis on states taking more than their allotted share of electricity.
`'Everyone overdraws from the grid. Just this morning I held a meeting with power officials from the states and I gave directions that states that overdraw should be punished. We have given instructions that their power supply could be cut," he told reporters.
The new power failure affected people across 20 of India's 28 states — more than the entire population of the European Union plus Turkey. The blackout was unusual in its reach, stretching from the border with Myanmar in the northeast to the Pakistani border about 3,000 kilometres away.
Familiarity with frequent blackouts
Its impact, however, was softened by Indians' familiarity with frequent blackouts and the widespread use of backup generators for major businesses and key facilities such as hospitals and airports.
R.N. Nayak, chairman of Power Grid Corp., which runs the nation's power system, said the system was meeting 17 to 20 per cent of power needs in northern and eastern and nearly 50 per cent in northeast by the afternoon and hoped to have full power restored by 7 p.m.
The outages came just a day after India's northern power grid collapsed for several hours. Indian officials managed to restore power several hours later, but at 1:05 p.m. Tuesday the northern grid collapsed again, said Shailendre Dubey, an official at the Uttar Pradesh Power Corp. in India's largest state.
About the same time, the eastern grid failed and then the northeastern grid followed, energy officials in those regions said. The grids serve more than half India's population.
In West Bengal, express trains and local electric trains were stopped at stations across the state of West Bengal on the eastern grid. Crowds of people thronged the stations, waiting for any transport to take them to their destinations.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said it would take at least 10 to 12 hours to restore power and asked office workers to go home.