While Americans have seen major power outages throughout the summer, nothing compares to the recent blackout that encompassed 20 of India's 28 states in one of the most populous regions in the world.
The country suffered the largest power outage in history when major regional power grids failed in the northern and eastern parts of the country. About 700 million people were affected by the outages; that is roughly twice the population of the entire United States, and almost one-tenth of the world's population.
Due to the outages, many critical services have been brought to a stand-still. The country's unusable trains are leaving passengers stranded, hospitals are unable to function and there is no air conditioning during one of the hottest periods of the year. Many in the country are turning to individual gas-powered electricity generators to make up for the lost power.
The outages were blamed on several contributors including the growing demand for air conditioning, the lack of power from hydroelectric dams, the large-scale illegal siphoning of power by individuals and an overuse of power resources by regional governments. It seems that India's infrastructure can no longer support the country's growing demands for power.
"One grid failure, and the entire country of north India was at a standstill. This is a system failure, a systemic failure." - G. K. Sehgal, India.
1. Why do power outages happen?
2. What is infrastructure?
1. Have you ever lived through a power outage? If so, how was your life affected by it?
2. Should building reliable power grids be a major priority for the government? Why or why not?