Lebanon faces a power outage when the power plant runs out of fuel

Two major power plants in Lebanon were forced to shut down after running out of fuel, plunging the country into darkness on Saturday.

Lebanon, with a population of 6.8 million, is tackling a serious energy crisis exacerbated by its dependence on fuel imports.

Unstable power supplies put hospitals and critical services in jeopardy.

Lebanese are increasingly dependent on private businesses struggling to secure supplies in the face of an unprecedented collapse of their currency.

Diesel and fuel shortages, along with outdated infrastructure, exacerbated power outages that have been fixed for years.

Power outages that previously lasted three to six hours allowed state power to leave the entire region within two hours a day.

“Previously electricity was cut off for three hours, and in a recent incident, electricity is given to us in just three hours. Now there is no electricity at all,” local Mohammad Seckarier said on Saturday. rice field. “I haven’t seen electricity in Beirut, the capital since yesterday. Also, the cost of privately generated electricity is over 1.5 million lira (1.5 million Lebanese pounds / $ 80). How can I survive?”

On Saturday, a state-owned power company said the Zahrani power plant in the southern part of the country had to be shut down due to lack of fuel. The main factory in the north was closed on Thursday.

Another local Tarek Kanafani said: Now it’s completely cut. We spend time outside the house so kids can enjoy it. The situation is getting worse. May God protect us because we do not know where we are heading. “

According to Electricite Du Liban, the shutdown will reduce the total power supply to less than 270 MW. This means that the stability of the grid will be significantly reduced.

He said he would contact fuel facilities in the north and south of the country to see if he could procure enough fuel to regain electricity.

He added that new shipments of fuel from Iraq are expected next week.

However, the company, which bears most of the government’s debt, relies on credit from the central banks of countries suffering from reduced reserves.

As the central bank cut dollar subsidies for imports, the government gradually raised fuel and diesel prices, adding to the difficulties of Lebanon, where about three-quarters of its population fell into poverty last year.

As prices soar and unemployment hit record highs, many families give up on their own generators and get only a few hours of state electricity a day.

On Saturday, a distributor of gas cylinders used for cooking and heating closed operations, saying that subsidies were cut in the black market currency fluctuations, resulting in poor sales.

The energy sector has been wasting the state’s financial resources significantly for decades.

Power companies lose up to $ 1.5 billion annually, costing the state more than $ 40 billion over the last few decades.

Energy sector reform was a major demand by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

To mitigate the crisis, Lebanon received fuel from Iran via Syria.

Iraq has also signed swap contracts with the government to help Lebanon’s state-owned utilities continue to operate for several days.

The new Lebanese government is also negotiating through Syria the supply of electricity from Jordan and the supply of natural gas from Egypt.

However, these transactions can take months.

Associated Press