A massive power outage hit India for the second time in two days Tuesday, as three regional power grids collapsed, leaving more than 600 million people without government-supplied electricity.
The first power grid collapse, on Monday, was the country’s worst blackout in a decade. It affected seven states in northern India that are home to more than 350 million people.
Indian officials managed to restore power several hours after the first blackout, but at 1:05pm Tuesday the northern grid collapsed again, Shailendre Dubey, an official at the Uttar Pradesh Power Corp. in India’s largest state, told CBS News.
About the same time, the eastern grid failed as well, said S.K. Mohanty, a power official in the eastern state of Orissa. Those two grids alone serve about half India’s population.
Besides the millions left without power at their homes, at least 300 trains have been held up in the affected regions stranding roughly 500,000 railway passengers across India.
In the wake of the blackouts, Indian power minister Sushilkumar Shinde, has ordered an investigation into Monday’s outage. He said the last time that an entire grid failed in northern India was 10 years ago.
He said that the reason for the latest blackouts is not yet known but that some states, particularly those with a lot of agricultural activity, may have been using more than their share of energy.
“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.
Officials in India say it will take at least 10 to 12 hours to restore power.
CBS has more on India’s power outages in the video below: