Lebanon News

Major electricity repairs completed following Lebanon blackout

Residents of old Sidon block the road with burning tires as they protest the electricity cuts in the southern city of Sidon, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

BEIRUT: Electricite Du Liban maintenance teams have resolved the technical difficulties that plunged much of the country into darkness early this week, a source at the state-run company said Tuesday.

The source, speaking to The Daily Star on condition of anonymity, said major repairs overnight meant that power supply now stands at 1,200 megawatt per day.

However, the source said some minor repairs still needed to be performed.

Lebanon suffers a severe shortage in electricity. The country produces 1,500 MW of electricity per day while consumption exceeds 2,400 megawatt per day.

In a statement late Monday, the state-run company said production grids had failed at 7 p.m., affecting power plants in Zahrani and Tyre in the south, and Baalbek, east Lebanon.

The Zahrani plant produces some 450 megawatt per day, making it the second-largest power plant in the country.

The blackout Monday prompted residents in the capital and north Lebanon to block roads in protest.

Protests over power cuts, which increase over the summer season due to higher demand, continued Tuesday.

Angered citizens blocked the road connecting Halba to Qobeiyat in North Lebanon early in the day. They threatened to block additional roads if power was not restored.

At around 6 p.m. a group of residents also blocked with burning tires the old road leading to the Rafik Hariri International Airport.

Protesters also blocked the road near the Lebanese University in Hadath.

Security forces were dispatched in order to reopen the roads.

Currently, rationing leaves central Beirut without power for three hours a day, while in some parts of Sidon’s old city residents do not have electricity for 22 hours a day.

The source at EDL said power rationing in central Beirut would be 21 hours per day, while there would be between eight to 12 hours of power rationing in other parts of the country.

In March, the Cabinet agreed to lease power-generating barges to solve the crisis, in addition to constructing 1,500 megawatt power plants. The ships are not scheduled to arrive until the end of the summer.





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