- Lebanon has been in a serious financial crisis for the past two years, resulting in a dire situation of essential electricity shortage.
- The national grid had shutted after 2 main power plants here ran out of diesel fuel.
- Power shortages have affected almost every aspect of life in Lebanon. The hospitals even had to temporarily stop major surgeries.
Running out of fuel
The national grid was shut down after the country’s two main power plants, Deir Ammar and Zahrani, ran out of diesel fuel, resulting in not having enough essential electricity needed to maintain operations, said Walid Fayyad, Energy Minister.
The Lebanese government is trying to secure fuel from other sources and other stopgaps, including the military, as a temporary countermeasure until a shipment of Iraqi diesel arrives.
For the past two years, Lebanon has been soaking into a financial crisis. Currently, the local currency (Lebanon pound) has lost 90% of its value. In addition, the reduction of fuel subsidies by the Central Bank of Lebanon (CBL) has made the situation even worse, Unless, the country’s foreign exchange reserves will soon run out, because that costs nearly 3 billion USD annually while resources are exhausted.
The shut down of the national grid this time is a reminder of the dire state of the Lebanese electricity industry, which has already been unable to supply full 24 hours a day.
The “victim” of the energy crisis
Power shortages have profoundly affected almost every aspect of life in Lebanon. Businesses and factories had to downsize or close altogether. Hospitals have been forced to halt major surgeries because there was not enough fuel to run generators. In some areas, people haven’t had water because the pumps could not run without electricity.
Many households are relying on private diesel generators. However, the price of imported gasoline is getting more and more expensive, causing the power cut time to extend from a few hours up to 23 hours per day.
According to Mr. Fayyad, Lebanon needs a lot of international goodwill for the gas deal to pass, including funding and waiving US sanctions on Syria so that gas can reach Lebanon. If the deal is successful, gas supplies will be much cheaper and more efficient in operation than the current electricity generation system.