Lebanon at risk of complete blackout by end of September, Beirut’s electricity company warns
Lebanon’s state electricity company has said that the country is at “high” risk of being plunged into a total blackout by the end of the month as the Middle-Eastern nation’s fuel supplies shrink rapidly.
In a statement released on Thursday, Electricite Du Liban revealed that it was down to its last remaining stocks, delivering the grim message that it can only generate less than 500 megawatts of fuel secured from Iraq.
According to the notice, “the network already experienced total blackouts across the country seven times and if this continues there is a high risk of reaching total and complete blackout by end September.”
Reserves of both its Grade A and Grade B fuel oil have reached a critical point and had been exhausted for some plants that have now ceased production, the release outlined.
Tehran has previously expressed interest in sending more fuel to economically crippled Beirut, with Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh claiming that the Islamic Republic cannot bear to “watch the suffering of the Lebanese people.”
Iranian fuel shipments imported by Hezbollah, however, have been criticized by Prime Minister Najib Mikati, who said that these violate Lebanon’s sovereignty. Others in opposition to the group have warned that importing fuel from heavily sanctioned Iran could also see Lebanon hit by embargoes from the West.
In July, Iraq and Lebanon struck a deal with Baghdad to receive one million tons of fuel oil per year in exchange for medical supplies.
Two of the country’s main power plants, which provide around 40% of the state’s electricity, shut down in July as foreign banks had not yet signed off transactions permitting Electricite Du Liban to unload two fuel imports.
Aside from severe power shortages, Lebanon is experiencing severe economic instability. The World Bank Lebanon Economic Monitor said in June that the nation’s financial depression was one of the most severe since the mid-19th century.