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Ghajar Says Power Cuts to Ease before Midweek

Jul 21

Ghajar Says Power Cuts to Ease before Midweek

Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar said on Monday that power supply is going to notably improve after weeks of power cuts that saw much of the country plunge into darkness, adding to the gloom of a deepening economic and financial crisis in the country.

“Various Lebanese regions will see gradual but notable improvement in power supply before Wednesday, which eventually will lead to less consumption of fuel,” said Ghajar at a joint press conference with Economy Minister Raoul Nehme.

Ghajar who had blamed the wide power cuts over the past month on two faulty fuel shipments involving the Algerian state energy firm Sonatrach, said the government is taking all necessary measures to avoid similar problems.

For his part, Nehme slammed fuel traders saying: “There is a fuel crisis in the country and instead of following the ministry’s legal mechanism, traders follow the principle of blackmail.”

The cuts, stretching in some cases to 20 hours a day, have led generator providers to shut down their machines for several hours a day to ration existing fuel. As a result, traffic lights in Beirut have been turned off and hospitals have struggled to make sure their surgeries and other work can continue without interruption.

Lebanese people, however, already pay for generators that provide backup power through the daily outages, and electricity prices cannot be increased before the state is able to provide round-the-clock electricity.