The public company Electricité du Liban (EDL) announced on Saturday that its power plants were shut down, accusing protesters of being responsible for this new blackout by having sabotaged the electricity network.
Public electricity is already cut for at least 20 hours a day in Lebanon due to a fuel shortage linked to the country’s economic collapse.
On Saturday, demonstrators outraged by the cuts rushed to an EDL distribution center in the Aramoun region, north of Beirut, the state-owned company said in a statement.
“Protesters disconnected a 150-220 kilovolt power transformer and cut the high-voltage line connecting the Zahrani power station to the Aramoun distribution center,” he added.
“This disrupted the electricity network (…) causing a complete blackout across Lebanese territory at 5:27 pm (3:27 pm GMT),” writes EDL.
This new cut will further increase the pressure on private generators who are already struggling to compensate for the almost total absence of state power in the country in crisis.
The cuts have paralyzed the lives of the population and several vital sectors for months, while the managers of private generators, who generally take over, are also rationing businesses, hospitals and homes, as fuel becomes scarce.
Now, the average monthly electricity bill for a Lebanese family using a private generator exceeds the minimum wage of 675,000 Lebanese pounds – or some $ 22 – as the local currency has collapsed against the greenback on the black market.
Lebanon, whose ruling class is accused of corruption and incompetence, has suffered for decades from rampant electricity under-production and poor EDL management that has cost the treasury more than $ 40 billion since the end. of the Civil War (1975-1990).
The international community is calling for urgent reforms from the authorities, in particular for the EDL, a symbol of bad governance and the decay of the country’s public services.
Lebanon negotiated in the fall with Egypt and Jordan for the delivery of gas and electricity via Syria, while the Shiite movement Hezbollah announced several deliveries of Iranian fuel to alleviate the shortages.