Private firms will help EDL save $300 million a year
Contractors promise service upgrades and vow to hire qualified EDL part-timers
“The private sector’s involvement in upgrading Electricité du Liban's (EDL) services is expected to save the state-owned power utility up to $300 million per year,” said private sector service providers contracted by EDL.
The firm BUS, part of the Butec Group, KVA of Arabian Construction Company (ACC), and NEUC of Debbas Group, were hired by EDL to undertake power distribution, maintenance, and bill collection operations for a four-year period. The firm of Khatib and Alami was assigned as a project consultant.
“The companies will begin their tasks within the next two months, services will be upgraded gradually, and improvements will be visible in two years,” said representatives of the four firms.
The companies promised that they “will offer jobs to all of EDL’s current contract workers in accordance with the Labor Law.”
The Cabinet in 2010 approved the distribution service providers’ project (DSP) through which EDL was authorized to engage the services of specialized private firms to upgrade the quality of its services. Contract workers have been performing bill collection and network maintenance duties for over two decades.
According to the contracts, Butec will handle operations in the north of the country, ACC will be responsible for Beirut, and Debbas for the south.
“The companies' expenses will be covered from the funds that will be saved once the project is set on track,” said Nizar Younes, Chairman of Butec.
“Service providers will cover costs during the first phase of the project and will receive payment after bill collecting operations are improved,” he said.
The DSP project was initiated in 2005, but it wasn’t launched until 2010. The project mainly involves building the smart network system, which will see the installation of digital meters. These meters will stabilize energy produced, distributed, and consumed, which should reduce technical and non-technical losses from the network. Such losses account four around 40 percent of EDL’s total output.
Reported by Abeer Darwiche
Date Posted: Jun 20, 2012