Bassil said that “one third of the budget deficit comes from Electricite Du Liban (EDL).” The deficit reached “$1 billion in 2009 and $1.8 billion in 2008,” he said.
In comparison, total investments in the sector over the 1992-2008 period reached only $1.55 billion. “How do you expect EDL to fully operate when investments in the power sector are almost absent?” Bassil said.
Bassil said that the technical side in the electricity sector is appalling and is further deteriorating. “Until today we do not own a control center to monitor actual production and demand, and we only depend on the expertise of employees and workers.”
Bassil said that Lebanon currently produces and imports 1800 megawatts of electricity while it needs 2400 megawatts annually. He said that power-demand is growing at an annual rate of seven to eight percent.
Bassil said that the "the waste in the generated energy due to transport and distribution is at 15 percent, ahead the global average of seven to eight percent due to the poor and ageing networks. “This costs the Treasury $118 million per annum," he said.
He said that “the waste due to the theft of electricity is estimated at about 20 percent and costs the Treasury $156 million per annum” while losses due to unpaid bills are about five percent, he said.
EDL currently employs a staff of 1,930 full-time employees while it needs “5,027 employees to operate normally.” This means the company is still in need to fill the gap of 3,097 employees, Bassil said. Also, the company losses eight percent of its staff annually as between 120 to 150 employees reach the retirement age, he said.