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Critical remaining power stations in Lebanon to face risk of closure today


Critical remaining power stations in Lebanon to face risk of closure today

Photo: AFP

Lebanon’s remaining power stations could be shut off today after the country has failed to pay the Turkish company that provides the country’s electricity.

After two Turkish barges were shut off in May, the country lost almost a quarter of its main energy supply, leading to long blackouts and rationed energy use. Frustrated citizens are blaming deep-rooted government corruption and mismanagement of public funds for the power crisis gripping the nation. The Turkish energy-provider Karpowership decided to cut power after 18 months of delayed payment from cash-strapped Beirut.

Expect the power outages to worsen the economic crisis that has plagued Lebanon and plunged it into financial chaos since 2019. In the short-term, political instability in the national government will likely preclude passage of the 2021 budget and thus prevent the funding of the electricity sector’s purchase of fuel. However, the shortage of dollars and the hyper-inflated Lebanese pound means that Beirut will struggle to meet energy demands even if a budget is passed. In the medium-term, large sectors of the economy will be dysfunctional without electricity to power cell phones and computers. Lower-income Lebanese will be disproportionately affected as private diesel generators are out of reach for all but the wealthiest.

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