Residents who own generators are illegally selling electricity
Beirut – Riad Shouman
Amidst critical shortages of power, electricity supplies to some areas of Lebanon have begun to improve after the malfunctioning Turkish power ship Fatmagul Sultan was repaired
and resumed power generation.
The barge was reconnected to the electricity grid, supplying around 220MW of power to a number of areas in Lebanon.
Despite this, chronic shortages of power due to malfunctioning transformers resulted in many areas including the capital Beirut suffering from long hours of electricity blackouts.
Power stations around the country repeatedly broke down due to pressure, and the lack of maintenance. Replacement transformers not arriving and the poor condition of cabling connecting to Beirut, on a 66KV line has affected much of the cities residents as well as hospitals and laboratories.
Rationing hours have reached a record 12 to 14 hours in the main areas of Raas Beirut and Raas al-Nabaa with residents complaining about the long cuts.
The electricity law of 1964 gave EDL the monopoly to sell electricity to the public. However, residents who own generators are illegally selling electricity privately to combat the shortage of power.
The electricity rates have increased to equal half the minimum wage, costing around 200,000 Lebanese pounds ($133).
Repair works to the electricity network in the southern areas of Jebel and Kharoub have now reconnected Zahrani Oil Laboratory (ZOIL), and Jiyeh Laboratory back to the electricity grid, after violence spilled over from neighbouring Syria between Sunni fighters and Lebanese Shiite residents.
A second Turkish power barge which was expected to arrive in August has been delayed due to technical issues, a source at operating company Karpowership said. Lebanon\'s Energy Minister Gebran Bassil, said the government was entitled to $82,000 per day in delay fees.