Lebanon plunged into darkness for “days” as the country ran out of electricity
Not the first time in recent months, the country’s two largest power plants – Zahrani and Deir Ammar – have been forced to shut down, reportedly due to fuel shortages.
The disconnection of the stations from the national grid reduced power production to less than 200 megawatts, leading to the collapse, according to local reports. The former energy minister said earlier that the country needs about 3,000 megawatts.
LBCI radio channel reported that the state-run electricity company, the Electricite du Liban, is striving to rebuild the national grid manually, amid the absence of the National Control Center destroyed by the Beirut port explosion.
A government official told Reuters: “The Lebanese electricity network has completely stopped at noon, and it is unlikely to work until next Monday, or for several days.”
Lebanon has suffered a wave of crises affecting all aspects of daily life since its economy began to collapse in 2019, with poverty, unemployment and inflation rising amid widespread discontent with a political system long accused of corruption and mismanagement.
The supplies of fuel, electricity, water and medicine are among the necessities affected in the crisis, which the World Bank describes as one of the worst economic collapses in modern history.
Residents reported being restricted to an hour or two of electricity a day, if they got any at all, while businesses and hospitals had to scale back operations or shut down completely.
In a country that has been subject to power outages for decades, some citizens often rely on private generators. But fuel shortages and rising costs have made this lifeline impossible for many, whether they seek to purchase essential fuel legally or on the black market.
Reuters quoted the official as saying on Saturday that EDL will seek to use the army’s fuel oil reserves to run power stations temporarily, but that will not happen any time soon.
Hassan Khalifa, 50, owner of a small barbecue restaurant in Beirut, told the news agency earlier: “During the [1975-1990] The Civil War, even as awful as it was, there was no blackout.”
“The state that is supposed to take care of its people is doing the opposite, it is trying to humiliate us as much as it can,” he added.