Lebanon's electricity output set to be cut further due to election day use

National energy company says it used up most of its fuel reserves generating power during Sunday's poll

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Lebanon’s national electricity company, Electricity du Liban, said on Wednesday that it will cut its output further in the coming days, after burning through most of its fuel supplies during Sunday’s election.

EDL wrote that it “consumed its fuel reserves at a faster pace” during “the period of the parliamentary election”.

The company's output has not matched demand since the end of the 15-year civil war in 1990. Production has decreased further following the country’s economic collapse in 2019.

Residents of the capital Beirut receive two to three hours of state power a day. Lebanese must use expensive private generators for a few extra hours of electricity.

Nationwide blackouts have occurred several times for hours in the past few months.

EDL did not specify by how much it had increased its output during the electoral period. On Monday, Interior Minister Bassam Al Mawlawi denied rumours of electricity cuts at polling stations the previous day.

The electricity provider said the power generated depends on the quantities of heavy fuel oil that Lebanon receives from Iraq.

Lebanon signed a contract with Iraq in July that gives it one million tonnes of fuel a year — roughly half the country's needs — in exchange for goods and services.

The Lebanese government is also negotiating a deal with Syria, Jordan and Egypt to import electricity. This should provide about six more hours of electricity a day for consumers.

But the deal — which would involve electricity generated in Jordan transmitted through areas of Syria controlled by President Bashar Al Assad — has been delayed.

Sources with direct knowledge of the topic previously told The National that Lebanon has yet to conclude a commercial contract with Egypt, a prerequisite for a World Bank loan.

“In order to avoid falling into complete darkness, additional precautionary measures were taken to forcibly stop production at Deir Ammar plant,” on Lebanon’s northern coastline, wrote EDL on Wednesday.

EDL’s second power plant in Zahrani, located in the south of the country, will be working for the next two days until it runs out of fuel. EDL will then start Deir Ammar again until it burns through its reserves of 3,700 cubic meters of fuel.

This could take about four days.

The power company said it expects an oil tanker to arrive on Friday and start unloading at the Zahrani plant on Monday.

Updated: May 18, 2022, 2:58 PM
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