Lebanon Businessnews News

Zahleh power concession
to be terminated next year
Mansourieh electricity loop

to see the light “very soon”

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César Abi Khalil, Minister of Energy and Water, in an exclusive interview, said the concession granted to Electricité de Zahleh (EDZ) almost a hundred years ago will not be renewed. The concession expires in late 2018.

“EDL will regain control over power distribution in the city, just like we did in Aley two years ago, and will do in Jbeil when the concession there expires,” he said.

EDZ is in charge of distribution and production of electricity in Zahleh and vicinity. It has 61,000 subscribers and employs 200. More than two years ago, EDZ launched a plan to generate 60 MW of power through installing a large generator with the goal to provide residents with 24/7 electricity.

EDZ Chairman Assaad Nakad said: “When the concession expires, we will hand over the network to EDL and we will disassemble our power plant.”

“Residents of the area will go back to the way it was before, having less electricity. Not only will they suffer from less electricity, but also less water and fewer hours of public lighting,” he said.

Abi Khalil said he supported private power generation but through the Independent Power Producer model.

“If the people were unhappy with the result, the project wouldn’t have lasted for two and a half years. They would have immediately protested its presence,” Nakad said.

Nakad said that because of the power plant, the electricity in the area has a good quality voltage and a tariff that is 30 to 40 percent less than the electricity bill from EDL and private power generators combined.

Abi Khalil had previously said the cost of power production by EDZ is 20 cents per kilowatt hour, double that of EDL.

Nakad said: “This is the cost of the EDL production alone, without that of power generators.”

He said: “The question that should be asked here is: Does the State agree to have private power generators instead of EDZ?”

The controversial 220 Kilovolt (KV) electricity loop in the area of Mansourieh will be carried out “very soon,” the minister has said.

Abi Khalil said: “We have discussed the matter in the latest Council of Ministers sessions, where everyone agreed to go ahead with executing the loop.”

The construction works will be carried out by EDL instead of the Council for Development and Reconstruction (CDR).

Completing the electricity loop will have a significant impact on the current’s stability, improve the quality of the electricity, and reduce technical waste. It has been highly objected by the towns of Mansourieh, Ain Saade, and Ain Najm.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Jun 02, 2017
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