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ELECTRICITY

EDL plans to increase production by 60 percent this summer

Any improvement in power supply will primarily benefit subscribers in regions with the highest bill collection rates, caretaker Energy Minister Walid Fayad says.

EDL plans to increase production by 60 percent this summer

Caretaker Energy and Water Minister Walid Fayad. (Screenshot of video of an interview on MTV)

Electricité du Liban (EDL)'s electricity provision will increase by 60 percent this summer, caretaker Energy and Water Minister Walid Fayad confirmed to L'Orient-Le Jour on Sunday. The caretaker minister had previously indicated that priority for benefitting from the increased supply would be given to subscribers in regions with the highest bill collection rates.

Fayad referred to a tender launched on June 10 for the purchase of some 30,000 tons of fuel oil, consumed by the Zahrani and Deir Ammar thermal power plants (South Lebanon), the only two sites of this type currently active in Lebanon, with both Zouk (Kesrouan) and Jiyyeh (Chouf) shut down. Fayad had recently announced on the MTV channel that the power supply would increase in the near future.

According to the caretaker minister, the delivery of this additional fuel for the plants, which comes on top of the equivalent quantity that EDL already obtains every month on preferential terms in line with an agreement concluded three years ago between Iraq and Lebanon, will make it possible to mobilize 800 megawatts (i.e., half EDL's total capacity) within two months, instead of the 550 megawatts mobilized at present. This represents a potential 60 percent increase in production.  Fayad told MTV that the increase in production would primarily benefit subscribers in regions with the highest bill collection rates, without providing any further details.

According to its management, the state-owned supplier recently activated additional generation units, deploying 200 MW to meet rising demand by using fuel it had in storage. At the time, EDL claimed to be able to supply between four and six hours of power per day on a sustainable basis.

This total could rise substantially if EDL is able to acquire more fuel. Unlike a year ago, this scenario is now credible, given that EDL now boasts an improved bill collection rate — even though it still has just under a year's backlog to make up — and that its tariffs were adjusted in November 2022 to cover its costs, whereas they had previously remained frozen at a ridiculously low level since 1994. EDL also recently announced that some public administrations and refugee camps had begun to pay their overdue bills, after numerous reminders, negotiations and threats to cut off power.

Speaking on television, the minister indicated that, in the most optimistic scenario, EDL could be in a position to mobilize 1,200 MW by 2025, representing more than three-quarters of its total operational capacity. New power plants will have to be built, or existing ones upgraded, if EDL is to provide 24-hour power and render private generators obsolete.

Developments in Lebanon's electricity sector are a continuation of the Emergency Electricity Plan launched by Fayad in early 2022 and partly based on previous iterations aimed at rehabilitating a sector that has been failing for years and the condition of which dramatically worsened following the onset of the Lebanese financial crisis in 2019. The minister recently distributed a document to MPs outlining the progress made in implementing the plan and its future objectives.

This article was originally published in French on L'Orient-Le Jour.

Electricité du Liban (EDL)'s electricity provision will increase by 60 percent this summer, caretaker Energy and Water Minister Walid Fayad confirmed to L'Orient-Le Jour on Sunday. The caretaker minister had previously indicated that priority for benefitting from the increased supply would be given to subscribers in regions with the highest bill collection rates.Fayad referred to a tender...