BEIRUT: The chairman of Electricite du Liban, Kamal Hayek, has said Monday that new power plants were needed to meet rising energy demands, adding that severe electricity rationing in the summer was only normal given the country’s production rate.
“We are now producing around 1,660 megawatts and that is our capability, except for the Tyre power plant and another in Baalbek. We can turn them on but that would only give us an additional 100 megawatts,” Hayek said, in response to a reporter’s question about repeated hours-long power cuts.
“The financial situation of the company does not allow us to turn them on even if we wanted to so that we could be under the set ceiling.”
“In any case, this is Lebanon's energy production, especially in the summer when temperatures rise. We need to build more power plants as soon as possible before next summer to improve energy production.”
While EDL produces around 1,500 megawatts, the actual demand is no less than 2,500 megawatts. Power rationing was at its worst during this year’s summer season, prompting residents across the country, including in Beirut's suburbs, to protest severe power cuts.
Energy and Water Minister Arthur Nazarian has said the 700 MW plan that was approved by the Cabinet in 2010 would be implemented very soon, noting that two or three plants would increase production at the end of this year.
But the minister insisted that increasing electricity production could cause EDL’s deficit to increase to alarming levels, and for this reason he favored revising the electricity rates as the best choice.