August 01, 2012


McMaster energy expert available to explain the “avalanche” that caused India’s power failures


Hamilton, Ont. August 01, 2012Energy expert Nafia Al-Mutawaly is available to explain back-to-back power failures that left hundreds of millions of users in India without electricity this week -- and why it will be extremely difficult to keep blackouts from recurring.


“When you are dealing with an avalanche of problems, things start to break down faster,” says Al-Mutawaly, who is chair of Energy Engineering Technologies for the McMaster-Mohawk Bachelor of Technology program. “The grid is just like a net. If you touch any spot on the net, you shake the whole thing.”


Al-Mutawaly says several factors conspired to cut power to more than 600 million people on Tuesday, in what is being described as the world’s largest blackout. Tuesday’s power failure came just a day after another massive blackout that cut power to about 300 million users.


Unprecedented demand and loosely controlled supply have overwhelmed aging infrastructure, all in the context of extreme heat, Al-Mutawaly says. In the short term, he says, India must severely restrict power allocation.


To arrange an interview please contact Nafia Al-Mutawaly directly at 905 525-9140, ext. 20291 or




For more information, please contact:


Wade Hemsworth
Public Relations Manager
McMaster University
905-525-9140, ext. 27988