There is no power in Lebanon, and it’s unlikely to come back on any time soon. The country’s electricity grid has shut down due to a dispute over the system between the government and private companies. This means that there will be no more power for at least two days, according to Lebanese Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil.
The government has done its part by increasing the tariffs, but this wasn’t enough. The private companies have to do something on their part, he told reporters after meeting with Prime Minister Tammam Salam.
Abi Khalil said that the situation will remain like this until the two sides reach an agreement that both parties would be happy with. The two sides are expected to meet on Wednesday, but even then the government’s deadline of 24 hours is unlikely to be met.
Abi Khalil said that, if it were up to him, he would give citizens electricity every second day and pay them LBP 100 million ($66) in return. If any company fails to comply with the demands, Abi Khalil warned that he would start revoking licenses in a week. After this, any company that fails to comply will have its license revoked and will be prevented from obtaining a new one.
The government has two electricity providers: Electricité Du Liban (EDL) and Sader Power Company. Last summer, the government decided to raise tariffs for both companies starting from September 1, 2015. Having failed to do so, the electricity payments have been kept at the same level.
Power cuts won’t affect hospitals and other vital facilities that rely on their generators. The private sector will also be exempt from power cuts as they use a different system. Lebanon was able to provide 24 hours of electricity last summer, but that was with the use of expensive generators. That’s also when people took to social media websites like Facebook and Twitter to complain about their outrageously high power bills.
This isn’t the first time Lebanon has experienced a blackout like this one. A mere four months ago, southern areas were left without power for two days. The government said the outage was due to an issue at a Turkish power plant that left several Arab countries without electricity. Lebanon wasn’t one of them, but it still paid the price.
Some reports are saying that they’re canceling school tomorrow because of this blackout, which means you might want to prepare yourself for a long day tomorrow.
Is Lebanon’s electricity grid so corrupt that it was able to shut down the whole country? Or is this just another excuse for people to complain about their outrageously high power bills? Leave us your thoughts in the comments section below.