Another country has been plunged into a total blackout after two main power stations went offline due to a lack of fuel.
Lebanon has been sent into a blackout after two main power stations went offline due to a lack of fuel.
The Mediterranean country is battling one of the planet’s worst economic crises since the 1850s, and has in recent months struggled to import enough fuel oil for its power plants.
“After the Deir Ammar power station was forced to stop producing power yesterday morning (Friday) due its gas and oil reserves running out, the Zahrani plant also stopped this afternoon for the same reason,” Electricite du Liban (EDL) said in a statement.
Local officials said Lebanon’s energy production network dropped below 200 megawatts on Friday – which is barely enough power to provide for 5,000 homes.
It was the second such complete outage reported by EDL since the start of the month, after a similar incident last Saturday.
Restoring electricity is one of the many tough tasks facing Lebanon’s new government, formed last month after 13 months of political wrangling.
EDL said that a fuel oil shipment was expected to arrive on Saturday evening, and was expected to unload at the beginning of next week.
Several measures have been launched in a desperate bid to keep the lights on, with the state bringing in some fuel oil for power stations in exchange for medical services under a swap deal with Iraq.
Lebanon has also reached an agreement towards bringing Jordanian electricity and Egyptian gas into the country via war-torn Syria, while Shiite movement Hezbollah has separately started hydrocarbon deliveries from Iran.
“Governments are scrambling to get subsidies in place to avoid a tremendous political backlash,” Daniel Yergin, author of The New Map: Energy, Climate, and the Clash of Nations, told the Washington Post.
“There’s a pervasive anxiety about what may or may not happen this winter, because of something we have no control over, which is the weather.”
Adding to the mess, Lebanon has been paralysed by an economic crisis which has deepened as supplies of imported fuel have dried up. Many Lebanese normally rely on private generators that run on diesel – although that is also running low.
The economy was already creaking before the horrific explosion in August 2020 – which killed hundreds of people and injuring thousands. Up to 300,000 people were also left homeless by the explosion which caused approximately $7 billion in damages.
Corruption and negligence are believed to have played its role in the blast, as top security officials and politicians knew a large stock of explosives was being stored at the port in Beirut.
It emerged that 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate – used as a fertiliser and in explosives – was left in a warehouse for six years before it went up in flames.
The intensity of the blast threw victims into the sea and knocked out a crater around 200 metres across, while buildings were damaged up to six miles outside the blast site
The explosion — one fifth the size of the Hiroshima nuclear bomb — was heard 110 miles away in Cyprus and ended in the collapse of Lebanon‘s government as numerous politicians were charged with negligence.
Originally published as Lebanon plunges into countrywide blackout