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Lebanon without electricity after power plants run out of money

August 17, 2023 at 11:50 am

A view of the city during power cuts due to the fuel shortage and problems in the supply of fuel, which is traded in dollars, in Beirut, Lebanon on July 25, 2021 [Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency]

The Electricity Corporation of Lebanon (EDL) announced yesterday that two power stations have stopped operating for financial reasons, resulting in power cuts throughout the country. The corporation said that the operator, Primesouth, had informed it of the suspension of operations at the Deir Aamar and Zahrani power stations due to the failure to pay the operating company in foreign currency. A sum of at least $10 million is required.

According to Anadolu, the power cuts have lasted for two hours in the morning and two in the evening. However, the erratic nature of the power supply in Lebanon means that most of the population get their electricity through private generators rather than rely on the state-run power stations.

“According to the mechanism established by Banque du Liban, the institution’s revenues from the collection of electricity bills in Lebanese pounds are transferred to dollars, but this has not been done since May 25,” explained the EDL. “Although there is a sum of money available from the corporation’s revenues in Lebanese pounds, amounting to 2,517 billion Lebanese pounds, which is over $37 million dollars, the amount has not been transferred.”

The corporation noted that the Deir Aamar and Zahrani plants “are the only two thermal plants that are currently connected to the national electrical network, given the exceptional circumstances prevailing in the country, as they supply about 550 megawatts.”

It pointed out that the suspension “will lead to the interruption of the corporation’s production capacity, and thus the electrical network will be completely disconnected, and no electricity will be supplied to customers.”

The frequency of power outages in Lebanon increased dramatically two years ago due to the government’s economic crisis and its inability to provide foreign currency for fuel imports.

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