BEIRUT — State-owned Electricité du Liban (EDL) issued a statement Friday announcing the launch of the first phase of a plan to improve its power production, which has been practically nonexistent since early 2023, according to the state-run National News Agency.
EDL said the plan to improve its production is divided into three phases, the first of which is scheduled to begin Friday and is expected to produce "250 megawatts in the next few hours." This wattage amounts to only a few hours of power per day.
EDL's power production has been severely reduced since the start of 2023 following the shutdown of its two largest plants: Zahrani in South Lebanon and Deir Ammar in North Lebanon. Each plant has a current capacity of 430 megawatts.
"Following the opening of a line of credit by the competent authorities to pay for the stocks of two fuel oil shipments — each containing 33,000 tons of [fuel oil] — and their unloading in the power plants of Zahrani and Deir Ammar ... EDL announces the beginning of the first phase of its plan to increase the production of electric power," the statement read.
The first phase will reportedly remain in effect until February 10, 2023, at the earliest. Transition to the second phase, which entails the production of 450 megawatts, will take place if several "success factors" in the plan are achieved.
The third phase is then expected to produce 585 megawatts per plant. The launch of each phase of EDL's plan will be marked by the receipt of further funding, which Lebanon's cabinet conditionally approved on Jan. 18.
If successful, EDL's plan will achieve a maximum capacity of approximately 1,500 megawatts, compared to an estimated pre-crisis demand of 3,000 megawatts.
EDL also announced that maintenance of the Deir Ammar power plant was successfully completed, allowing it to restart production.
On Jan. 18, the cabinet approved a first advance of $62 million to finance the purchase of fuel oil from two ships that anchored off the coast of Lebanon last December, as well as an advance of $54 million to finance maintenance of the country's power plants.
The cabinet approved a third advance of $42 million to finance the purchase of fuel oil from two additional ships, but this approval is subject to validation by a ministerial committee specially formed for the occasion. The second two ships contain more than 60,000 tons of grade A and grade B fuel oil in their holds and are bound for the power plants of Jiye in Chouf and Zouk in Kesrouan.
The cabinet also approved a fourth advance of $142 million for fuel oil deliveries over a period of several months.