Azerbaijan hit by massive blackout, worst in decades

A massive blackout hit Azerbaijan and affected most of the country Tuesday, the worst power outage since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.

President Ilham Aliyev set up a government commission to investigate the accident at a power plant in Mingechavir that officials said caused the blackout. The Emergencies Ministry said the breakdown of a transformer in Mingechavir sparked a fire that was put out in 20 minutes and did not cause any deaths.

The blackout occurred as the Caspian Sea nation experiences a heat wave, with temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) causing power consumption to spike. The outage plunged the capital, Baku, and nearly 40 other cities and regions into darkness.

Officials said power was restored in Baku after several hours, but several subway stations in the capital were closed. Utility crews struggled through the day to restore power in other regions.

On Tuesday evening, Baku and other regions suffered a second blackout. Officials wouldn't immediately name the cause.