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World More blackouts ahead as Lebanon generators starved of fuel

13:20  11 september  2021
13:20  11 september  2021 Source:   afp.com

Solar ‘boom’ times as Lebanon’s fossil fuels run dry

  Solar ‘boom’ times as Lebanon’s fossil fuels run dry With electricity becoming a scarce commodity, thousands of well-off Lebanese rush to alternative energy.Because of the government’s failure to secure heavy fuel oil for power plants, electricity provided by the state-owned Electricité du Liban has dwindled to two hours per day, and has been shut off completely in some areas of the country.

The owners of private generators that provide a vital backup to Lebanon's decrepit power grid warned Wednesday of their own cuts due to lack of fuel as the country's economic crisis deepens.

a close up of a busy city street: Mesh of electricity lines along a street in a suburb of Lebanon's capital Beirut © JOSEPH EID Mesh of electricity lines along a street in a suburb of Lebanon's capital Beirut

The national network run by Electricité du Liban is prone to blackouts and in some areas only manages to provide power for two hours a day.

That forces many Lebanese to pay a separate bill for a backup from neighbourhood generators run by private firms.

With the Lebanese economy facing its worst crisis in a generation and the currency in freefall, private suppliers have warned they are struggling to secure enough fuel to keep running.

Hospitals in blast-hit north Lebanon grapple with power outages

  Hospitals in blast-hit north Lebanon grapple with power outages Hospitals in Akkar struggle after fuel tank explosion, with Lebanese parliament set to discuss fuel crisis on Friday.Lights and phone lines went out across the impoverished and marginalised region that has long suffered from an ailing power grid but that is now grappling with an unprecedented crisis due to severe diesel shortages nationwide.

The crisis is so acute that on Wednesday the lights went out in a building belonging to the foreign ministry, forcing employees to stop work, Lebanese media reported.

"Generator owners in several regions started telling customers on Wednesday that they would not be able to provide electricity for lack of mazout," a widely used petrol derivative, said Abdu Saadeh, head of a syndicate for generator owners.

A technician controls an electric switch board connecting homes to electricity generators in a suburb of Lebanon's capital Beirut © JOSEPH EID A technician controls an electric switch board connecting homes to electricity generators in a suburb of Lebanon's capital Beirut

"We had warned late last week that the stocks would start running dry... and so far we haven't found a solution."

Lebanon has been roiled since autumn 2019 by an economic crisis the World Bank says is likely to rank among the world's worst financial crises since the mid-19th century.

Lebanon's new PM begins bid to form much-delayed cabinet

  Lebanon's new PM begins bid to form much-delayed cabinet Lebanon's new prime minister-designate Najib Mikati Tuesday held consultations with political parties that he said "unanimously" agreed on the need to put together a government quickly to rescue the crisis-hit country. But he faces an uphill battle after nearly a year of extreme drift, an economic crisis described by the World Bank as one of the world's worst since the 1850s and continued squabbling among political players. The United StatesBut he faces an uphill battle after nearly a year of extreme drift, an economic crisis described by the World Bank as one of the world's worst since the 1850s and continued squabbling among political players.

The collapse has sparked outrage at Lebanon's political class, seen as woefully corrupt and unable to tackle the country's many difficulties.

Officials have blamed the current fuel shortages on stockpiling by traders and a surge of fuel smuggling into Syria.

Several people have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling in recent weeks, according to the police.

The central bank has set up a mechanism to subsidise fuels by up to 85 percent, but fuel importers have accused it of failing to implement the programme.

The head of public internet provider Ogero has warned that electricity cuts could also threaten Lebanon's access to the web.

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Lebanon: Government hikes petrol prices again to tackle shortages .
Friday’s gasoline price hike is one of several in recent months to pave the way for fully lifting fuel subsidies.According to an official document signed off by newly installed Energy Minister Walid Fayyad, the price of 20 litres of 95-octane and 98-octane gasoline increased to 174,300 ($11.24) and 180,000 ($11.64) Lebanese pounds respectively.

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