Lebanon electricity back online after army supplies fuel

Lebanon electricity back online after army supplies fuel

Energy Minister Walid Fayad says grid is back up and running, returning to ‘normal’ as it was before fuel ran out at two key power stations.

Lebanon’s electricity grid was back online on Sunday after the army supplied fuel to two key power stations that had run out, ending almost a day of total blackout.

The Deir Ammar and Zahrani plants ground to a halt, causing the state electricity network to collapse for the second time this month.

The country is battling economic turmoil, and the cash-strapped state has in recent months struggled to import enough fuel oil for electricity production.

Most Lebanese saw no significant change to their daily lives on Saturday, as the state has been barely providing one to two hours of power a day for months.

Energy Minister Walid Fayad said on Sunday the grid was back up and running.

“The network is back to normal, as it was before the gas oil ran out at Deir Ammar and Zahrani,” he said in a statement, implying production would revert to the previous few hours a day.

He thanked the army for handing over 6,000 kilolitres (about 1.6 million gallons) of gas oil, half of which he said went to each power station.

The state electricity company said on Saturday a shipment of fuel oil was expected to arrive that evening and be offloaded at the start of the week.

Lebanon has witnessed rolling power cuts across the country since the end of its 1975-90 civil war, but the economic crisis has made matters drastically worse.

Lebanese who can afford it subscribe to private generators to keep appliances on, but even their owners have started to ration power supplies because of the scarcity of fuel.

The international community has long demanded a complete overhaul of Lebanon’s loss-making electricity sector, which has cost the government more than $40bn since the early 1990s.

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