Lights out in Lebanon after grid collapses

Aerial shot of Beirut in Lebanon (grid)
Beirut, Lebanon (Image: Shutterstock)

Electricity has been partially restored in Lebanon after a 24-hour nationwide blackout following the collapse of the state-run electrical grid over the weekend.

Lebanon’s power supplies were back to normal on Sunday after a blackout the previous day when the country’s two biggest power stations, Zahrani and Deir Ammar, shut down because of a fuel shortage, reported Reuters.

The closure piled further hardship on Lebanese struggling with job losses, soaring prices and hunger wrought by the country’s worsening financial meltdown.

Lebanon’s energy ministry said it had received central bank approval for $100 million in credit to issue fuel import tenders for electricity generation, adding the country’s grid had resumed supplying the same amount of electricity as before the complete outage.

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“Electricity used to be available for two hours—one hour during daytime and two hours at night. Now there is nothing, our costs doubled. Gas and fuel prices went up. This is not normal. We are destroyed,” said Mohammed Rizk, a restaurant owner in Beirut.

The Lebanese army agreed on Saturday evening to provide 6,000kL of gas oil distributed equally between the two power stations, the state electricity company told the official National News Agency.

Lebanon has been paralysed by an economic crisis that deepened as supplies of imported fuel have dried up, with its currency dropping 90 per cent since 2019.

Many Lebanese homes and businesses rely on private generators that run on diesel, although that is in short supply.