BEIRUT

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Power plant fault delays electricity resumption

The Zouk power plant, Lebanon, Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2005. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Electricite Du Liban said Monday that a last minute malfunction in some of the units at Deir Ammar power plant has delayed attempts to restore electricity to much of the country.

The company had promised to restore electricity back to its normal capacity by Monday, once the technical teams had completed all repairs.

EDL said the malfunctioning units have a total capacity of 200 megawatts.

Lebanon’s demand for electricity exceeds 2,800 megawatts, but even at full capacity, power plants cannot produce more than 1,500 MW.

The failure at Deir Ammar has dealt a serious blow to power supply, causing it to decrease by at least 13 percent.

“On Sunday evening at around 21:51 p.m., an urgent failure happened on the gas turbine of unit 2 at Deir Ammar, which is currently under maintenance by Malaysian company YTL,” an EDL statement read.

“This would not allow for the awaited improvement in power supply,” the statement added.

According to the statement, the failure would take “a long time” to fix as YTL will need to obtain spare parts from the manufacturer of the unit.

“But we are exerting efforts to find a temporary solution and put the unit back into service,” the statement said, adding this could restore the units capacity to about 130 MW.

EDL added that it would also form a committee to investigate the reasons for the failure before taking action against the plant’s operator, if it discovers any misconduct.

EDL announced last week that power supply would start improving Monday in most areas of the country. It said maintenance teams have completed substantial work on many power plants while service providers dealt with failures on distribution networks.

The state-run company has attributed the deterioration in power supply to a three-month strike by EDL’s part-time workers.

The strike, which ended last week following a political settlement, had all but halted bill collection, and allowed a number of faults to accumulate on distribution networks.

EDL has also suggested that the power supply will not return to normal in the near future due to poor resources and a shortage of technical staff.

Experts say that even if the Energy Ministry manages to soon begin using the leased Turkish electricity barges, which the state recently acquired, power production will remain low because most plants are in poor condition.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 14, 2012, on page 5.

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