A pharmaceutical shop uses candle lights to serve customers during countrywide blackout in Dhaka, Bangladesh, October 4. — Reuters

At least 130 million people in Bangladesh were without power on Tuesday afternoon after a grid failure caused widespread blackouts, the government’s power utility company said.

More than 80 per cent of the country was hit by the sudden outage shortly after 2 pm local time, according to the Power Development Board.

Apart from some locations in Bangladesh’s northwest, “the rest of the country is without power”, agency spokesman Shamim Ahsan told AFP.

Ahsan said 130m people or more were without electricity and it remained unclear what had caused the fault.

“It is still under investigation,” he said, adding that a technical malfunction was the likely reason.

Junior technology minister Zunaid Palak said on Facebook that power would be restored by 8pm in the capital Dhaka, itself home to more than 22m people.

Bangladesh has suffered a major power crisis in recent months as a result of higher global energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Public anger has intensified over lengthy blackouts in the South Asian nation, which is struggling to pay for enough imported diesel and gas to meet electricity demand.

Bangladesh last witnessed a major unscheduled blackout in November 2014, when around 70pc of the country went without power for nearly 10 hours.

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