A power failure hit northern India on January 2 that, although from a different cause, made the California emergency look rather small. Tens of millions of people across eight states were left without electricity after a breakdown of the Northern Grid, which serves a population of 226 million people. The supply was gradually restored in some areas, and in most parts of New Delhi, with about two thirds of the supply switched back on within twenty four hours.

The ower failure affected seven Indian states as well as Delhi, and disrupted train services, water supplies and the telephone network. It was caused by a substation failure in Kanpur (in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state) which caused an overload on other lines, causing them to fail. Organisations acting for business are calling for a mechanism to prevent future disruptions which, they claim, could cripple the economy.

The Indian government is reported to be putting the final touches to plans for a new national power transmission grid project. It would entirely replace the existing grid at an estimated cost of 800 billion rupees ($17 billion).