Power supply set to improve by mid-July
Production to increase by 200 MW once Deir Amar renovation is completed
Protests have broken out in the wake of increased power rationing in areas outside the Capital. The power shortage has grown ever more acute in the summer heat, as greater demands on the grid are coupled with a drop in supply.
EDL sources attribute the deficiency in power supply to the rehabilitation work being carried out on the country’s major power plants, mainly the Deir Amar station, among other reasons.
According to an EDL official, supplementary electrical power from Syria and Egypt stopped completely earlier this year.
“Power cuts have increased as a result of a drop in production to 1,200 megawatts,” the official said. Since early June, areas outside Beirut have been suffering long hours of blackout, more than 15 hours per day in some areas.
The official also said that the ongoing strike by EDL contract workers affected the company's performance in terms of maintenance work.
Power production is expected to gradually recover to reach a maximum of 1,650 MW. “Power supply should improve upon conclusion of work to rehabilitate the Deir Amar power plant, expected around mid-July,” the official said.
“Demand for power, however, is estimated to grow to around 2,600 MW this summer, thus leaving a deficit of around 1,000 MW.” The deficit will ultimately mean power rationing will continue but at a lower rate.
The power plants in Jieh and Zouk are also due for major renovation, but the Cabinet has decided to postpone the initiation of work on those plants until after the summer. Once the Jieh and Zouk plants are closed, finding alternative power sources will be crucial. Last March, the Cabinet agreed to lease two power plant ships to make up for the expected deficit.
Two companies, one American and one Turkish, won the tender. Prime Minister Najib Mikati was critical of the outcome of the tender and called for more talks with the two companies before finalizing the deals.
Minister of Energy Gebran Bassil said that he will submit offers from private companies for leasing electricity-generating barges in the next Cabinet session (June 27).
Reported by Hanadi Chami
Date Posted: Jun 18, 2012