Lebanon’s power outages will lead to Internet cuts, Ogero says

Lebanon has witnessed massive power outages in recent days as a fuel shortage exacerbate an already abysmal power grid.
by Georgi Azar

6 July 2020 | 16:30

Source: by Annahar

  • by Georgi Azar
  • Source: Annahar
  • Last update: 6 July 2020 | 16:30

File photo shows Ogero's logo. (gov.org)

BEIRUT: Lebanon's state-owned landline operator and Internet provider Ogero announced Monday potential cuts to its service in certain regions, blaming nationwide power cuts.

Lebanon has witnessed massive power outages in recent days as a fuel shortage exacerbates an already abysmal power grid.

The capital Beirut has seen state-owned Electricite Du Liban’s output drop to almost zero with people living on private generators.

In response, private generator owners, who fill EDL's gap have had to ration their fuel to sustain output.

"State power barely comes on for three hours while our generator provider supplies us with around 15 hours," Camile, a resident of Achrafieh, told Annahar. 

"This leaves us with six hours of darkness," he said.  

Last week, Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar announced that a fuel shipment would reach Lebanon in the coming days.

“The main reason behind the lack of fuel ... is because of a problem between Lebanon and supply companies due to [shipments] that do not meet the specifications,” Lebanon's Energy Minister Raymond Ghajar said on Wednesday.

Ghajar said the extended power cuts would persist until another fuel shipment from controversial Algerian oil company Sonatrach reaches Lebanon this week. “The rationing of electricity will remain as it is until July 8 before feeding improves,” he was quoted as saying by local media.

Lebanon's power cuts also made their way to one of Beirut's largest hospitals and main healthcare provider, Rafic Hariri University Hospital. A power outage caused a number of surgeries and operations to be postponed Monday, local media reported. 

The shortage has pushed affluent Lebanese who had installed private generators in their buildings and houses to stock up on fuel.

"I've purchased 3,000 liters of fuel in the last couple of days and filled up all my reservoirs," Dany Akl told Annahar. 

"I cannot rely on private generator owners who supply the rest of the neighborhood as they've also begun rationing their supply," he said. 

Last week, a Turkish flight abandoned its landing at Beirut's airport after one of the runways' lights went out, causing confusion among both passengers and staff. 

Lebanon is currently dealing with its worst economic and financial crisis in its 100-year-old history, leading to mass unemployment and surging poverty. 

Its two-months long negotiations with the International Monetary Fund have hit rock bottom after Finance Minister Ghazi Wazni said that talks have been put “on hold” because of a lack of a unified stance from Lebanon’s political establishment.

The national currency has lost more than 80 percent of its value, trading at as much as LBP 9,500 to the dollar on the black market.

The official exchange rate remains 1,507.5 pounds per dollar, used to subsidize fuel, wheat and medicine. 

In an attempt to curb the astronomical rise in food prices, Lebanon's central bank announced Monday that it would subsidize essential food items at a fixed rate of 3,900 Lebanese pounds per dollar for both importers and food manufacturers.

In a statement, the central bank said that it "will secure the requisite amounts of foreign currency for importers and manufactures at the fixed rate of 3,900 pounds per dollar."

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