Lebanon’s aging electricity power plants came to a complete halt Saturday as the deep shortage of gas oil and absence of funds to carry out maintenance work threatens the durability of these stations, Electricité du Liban warned Sunday.
“EDL reports that, in addition to the plants that have been forced to stop producing energy, the thermal power plant in Zouk also ground to a halt due to the depletion of its (A Grade) fuel oil stores,” the company said a statement.
It added that this has led to a reduction in total production capacity to less than 500/MW, and consequently EDL has been forced to
rely on the Deir Ammar and Al-Zahrani plants to generate the necessary energy for the rest of the country.
EDL has repeatedly warned the government and the Central Bank that it may no longer be able to generate even an hour of electricity if authorities fail to find a real solution to the crisis.
It has also blamed BDL for the current crisis because the latter still declines to open a line of credit in fresh US dollars to buy badly needed fuel and gas oil to run the remaining power plants.
BDL argues that it is not willing to touch the remaining foreign currency reserves to finance the purchase of fuel oil for EDL.
EDL officials insist that the company can resume full production if BDL finances the purchase of fuel oil and earmarks more funds to carry out crucial maintenance of the stations.
EDL added that activating the Deir Ammar and Al-Zahrani network has accelerated the pace of consumption of their stores of gas-oil, forcing the two plants to cut their electricity production to less than half of their original capacity.
“Consequently, the total production capacity fell yesterday to below 500 megawatts. It has become almost impossible to maintain the stability of the electricity network under these difficult operating conditions, which threaten its complete collapse at any moment and the inability to build it again, especially due to the low production capacity on the one hand, and on the other the continued presence of major transfer stations outside the control of the institution,” EDL said.
EDL said it expected that the second shipment related to the Iraqi exchange agreement would begin unloading Sunday.
The new shipment will be loaded with material fuel oil (B Grade), in each of the Zouk and Jiyyeh estuary tanks, after the concerned authorities had confirmed its specifications.
EDL noted that each of the power plants is running only on one turbine, with minimum capacity in each, adding that the load of this shipment alone will not be enough to raise the capacity.
“Therefore, in view of this situation which is outside the control and responsibility of Electricité du Liban, it had no choice but to cut output to 600 MW in order to reduce the frequency of public outages as much as possible and to maintain the safety of its facilities.”