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Lebanon’s Main Power Plants Shut Down

2 main state power plants expected to come back online Monday at the earliest
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 10, 2021 8:30 AM CDT
Lebanon's Power Is Out—for Days
In this Monday, March 29, 2021 file photo, the capital city of Beirut remains in darkness during a power outage as the sun sets, in Lebanon.   (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar, File)

(Newser) – Lebanon’s two main power plants were forced to shut down after running out of fuel, the state electricity company said Saturday, leaving the small country with no government-produced power. "It is unlikely that it will work until next Monday, or for several days," the Guardian quotes an official as saying. Lebanon is grappling with a crippling energy crisis made worse by its dependency on fuel imports, reports the AP. Erratic power supplies have put hospitals and essential services in crisis mode. The Lebanese increasingly depend on private operators that also struggle to secure supplies amid an unprecedented crash of the national currency.

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The shortage of diesel and fuel, along with an antiquated infrastructure, has worsened power cuts that have been a fixture for years. Blackouts that used to last for three to six hours could now leave entire areas with no more than two hours of state power a day. On Saturday, the state electricity company said Zahrani power plant in the country’s south was forced to shut down because of fuel shortage; the main plant in the north was shut down on Thursday.

Electricite De Liban said it would reach out to fuel facilities in the country's north and south to see if they can procure enough fuel to bring back power. It added that a new shipment of fuel from Iraq is expected next week. But the company, responsible for most of the government’s debts, is dependent on credit from the country’s central bank, which is struggling with dwindling reserves. The energy sector has been a huge drain on state coffers for decades. The electricity company has annual losses of up to $1.5 billion, and has cost the state more than $40 billion over the past decades. Energy sector reforms have been a key demand by the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

(Read more Lebanon stories.)

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