As if the on-going power shortage and loadshedding was not torture enough, the entire Karachi & other parts of Sindh had a complete black out on the evening of the 17th resulting in massive loss of industrial and business out put. The blackout lasted about 20 long hours. Initial reasons advanced by the power managers of the country were that a fault had developed in one of the 500 KV transmission lines caused by a heavy storm. As PEPCO was supplying a load of 700 MW to KESC, the fault caused disruption of the entire system. If the power system had been properly maintained, manned and operated in accordance with standard procedures and practice, only the faulty section of the system would have got disconnected automatically, leaving the rest of the system operating and intact. Since this did not happen, the whole KESC system collapsed blinding the entire Sindh. This catastrophe points to serious pitfalls in the management of the utilities, especially the KESC. The tripping of all the generating units in KESC indicates serious discrepancies in their system operation, techniques and practice. It appears that adequate automatic load shedding measures were not in place or were inadequate in the event of supply cut off from PEPCO. To conclude, independent operation of the KESC system is not possible. The astonishing 21 hours or so it took in restoration of the system is another red light on the Karachi switchboard. -ENGR R.A. BHUTTA, Lahore, via e-mail, June 20.