Severe power rationing continued in Beirut and other regions Monday, with Electricité du Liban saying the repairs in Zahrani and Deir Ammar plants had been completed and they expected service to return to normal “very soon.”
Citizens in Beirut complain that electricity rationing in the capital has ranged between eight to more than nine hours for the last several days, compared to the typical three hour daily rolling blackouts it has experienced since the power crisis started in the country more than eight years ago.
Unlike the capital, most regions of the country are accustomed to dealing with rolling blackouts which range between 8 and 12 hours on normal days.
EDL announced in a statement Monday that repair teams had completed connecting the Zahrani power plant in the north with the network and had also repaired all the damages in Deir Ammar plant.
The company added that these repairs had already added 34 MW to the current electricity production.
“Electricity production is supposed to rise very soon and will reach its previous levels,” EDL said.
However, the company warned that the technical teams would shut down one of the turbines in Deir Ammar for three days for maintenance purposes.
There is deep concern that the electricity rationing this summer would rise to extreme levels as a result of the influx of Syrian refugees and possible arrival of Arab tourists.
Electricity consumption reaches a peak in the summer season because most people turn on their ACs in the houses and offices.
To make matters worse, the Turkish electricity barge Fatmagül is still not operating in full capacity due to contaminated fuel supplied by EDL that does not suit the ship’s generators.
The company operating the boat and EDL have promised to solve the problem soon, with Energy Minister Gebran Bassil saying Friday that that he expected new fuel to be provided this week.
Another smaller Turkish electricity barge is expected to arrive in Lebanon in June. The total electricity production of both boats will be 270 MW and in theory this output should reduce electricity rationing by around three hours a day.
EDL claimed that bad weather last week caused some of the damages in electricity production.
Currently, Lebanon’s electricity production from its ageing plants does not exceed 1,400 MW, while the actual need is more than 2,500 MW.
Bassil has promised on many occasions to supply the entire country with 24 hours of electricity every day by 2015 if his plan to boost production by 700 MW was not hindered.