(Beirut) Lebanon was pushed into a normal blackout on Saturday after two major power plants were shut down due to fuel shortages, the national company Electricity du Libబాn (EDL) announced.
Trapped in an unprecedented crisis, described by the World Bank as the worst in world history since 1850, the country has been experiencing tough electricity rations for months, reaching more than 22 hours a day and struggling to import fuel, amid a historic jerk in the national currency and the drying up of foreign currencies.
These cuts will freeze the lives of the population and many key sectors, but also the operators of private generators who usually take over ration shops, hospitals and even homes due to fuel shortages.
“After the Deer Ammer plant had to stop generating electricity yesterday morning due to depletion of diesel reserves, the Zahrani plant also closed this afternoon for the same reason,” EDL said in a statement.
This led to the “total collapse of the network without the possibility of restoration at present”, adds a press release, while other power stations in the country are operating at a minimum.
This is the total blackout reported by EDL since the beginning of the month. First, the network was re-established a few days later.
A source in the Ministry of Energy told AFP that efforts were being made to “find a solution to the problem.”
In its announcement, EDL said an oil tanker would arrive on Saturday evening and be unloaded early next week.
The international community is calling for urgent reforms from Lebanese authorities, especially for the EDL, as a symbol of bad governance and the deterioration of public services in Lebanon.
Formed in September after 13 months of political strife, the new government is committed to initiating reforms in the power sector and gradually restoring public power.
Lebanon is in talks with Egypt and Jordan for gas and electricity supplies through Syria, while the Shiite movement Hezbollah has announced several deliveries of Iranian fuel in recent weeks to alleviate severe power and energy shortages.
An agreement was also reached between the authorities and Iraq to supply Iraqi oil to Lebanon in lieu of medical services.