Did you hear that? That's the sound of 620 million Indians putting their candles back in storage. On Wednesday, the power was restored in India after major electrical grid collapses caused the largest blackout in history. It's still not clear what caused the disruption, which affected 20 states since outages began on Monday but India's political class is more than ready to begin pointing fingers, the AP's Nirmala George reports:
[Some] officials said the blackout might have been the result of states drawing too much power from the grid. Some analysts dismissed that explanation, saying if that was the cause, such collapses would happen all the time.
The top elected official from Uttar Pradesh, India's largest state, denied that excess power drawn by his state had put the northern grid under stress. "Uttar Pradesh has no role in the grid failure. My state is not drawing more electricity than its allotted quota," Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav told reporters.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. there are other things about the blackout to dispute: Like whether 620 million people actually lost power this week, a fantastically complex figure to estimate that The Wall Street Journal's Tripti Lahiri breaks down in this interesting article. In the Los Angeles Times, Mark Magnier says the outage puts a serious damper in India's superpower dreams (if it can't keep the lights on, that's a problem) and Reuter's Jeff Glekin argues that this is mainly a failure in political leadership. All in all though, it appears Indians took the blackout in stride. "The blackout might have been huge, but it wasn't unbearably long," said a juice and coffee shop owner. "It was just as bad as any other five-hour power cut. We just used a generator while the light was out, and it was work as usual."