BEIRUT — Power cuts have finally reached even Électricité de Zahlé, which for years has been seen as a success story in the midst of Lebanon’s chronic electricity issues.
Until now, the company had been providing 24/7 electricity to Zahle and 16 surrounding villages. However, on Friday the company announced that it will begin rationing power for its industrial customers, which generally have their own backup generators, and urged all customers to conserve energy to avoid cuts to residential users in the area, who generally do not have a generator.
The company noted that it had already cut off power to streetlights a week ago.
The electricity crisis has exposed weaknesses in EDZ’s model, which historically relied on receiving power from Électricité du Liban at a subsidized rate when available and distributing it to customers. When EDL is not providing power, EDZ produces its own via a diesel-operated power plant run by the British company Aggreko.
However, amid the current crisis, EDL has cut off its power supply, while diesel has become increasingly scarce and expensive, EDZ noted in its statement, adding, “We hope that God will remove the bitter cup from Lebanon and relieve it from its tribulations.”