Lebanon has no centrally-generated electricity after the country’s two biggest power stations shut down due to a fuel shortage, plunging six million people into darkness.
Production stopped at Zahrani power station today hours after the Deir Ammar plant shuttered yesterday when diesel supplies were reportedly exhausted.
A government official confirmed the country’s power network ‘completely stopped working at noon today’ and warned production was unlikely to restart ‘until next Monday, or for several days’.
The official said the state electricity company would try to use the army’s fuel oil reserve to operate the power plants temporarily, but that would not happen anytime soon.
It comes amid wider fears of global fuel shortages after India warned its coal-fired plants could go dark in just three days and electricity blackouts hit China.
People on their scooters and motorcycles are pictured in August as they wait in a queue for petrol amid the shortage as Lebanon agreed a stop-gap deal with Iraq to supply usable fuel this summer
The country has been in the throes of an economic meltdown threatening its stability for the past 21 months. Pictured: Long queues for fuel in Beirut in June
Lebanon has no centrally-generated electricity after the country’s biggest two power stations shut down due to a fuel shortage (file photo)
Officials said Lebanon’s network ground to a halt today after energy production dropped below 200megawatts – enough to power only about 5,000 homes.
In July, Lebanon agreed a stop-gap deal with Iraq to supply fuel in a desperate bid to ease the crippling blackouts and shortages of essential supplies.
The shortage has caused huge hours-long lines for basic goods spilling out on to the streets in what have been branded ‘queues of humiliation’ by locals.
Many Lebanese normally rely on private generators run on diesel, although that is also in short supply.
The country has been paralysed by an economic crisis, which has deepened as supplies of imported fuel have dried up. The Lebanese currency has sunk by 90 per cent since 2019.
Lebanon defaulted on its foreign debt last year and struggled to pay suppliers. The Central Bank has been limiting credit to purchases of basic supplies, including fuel and medicine.
Residents have resorted to using expensive black market supplies as hundreds of local shops and businesses have folded.
At times, people have queued for miles to fill up their vehicles, often resulting in chaotic scenes filled with violence.
Blackouts have been a fixture in Lebanon since the end of its 15-year civil war in 1990, and the small country relies on imported fuel.
But the problem has intensified as the government grapples with unprecedented financial problems, and considers lifting fuel subsidies.
The shortage has caused huge hours-long lines for basic goods spilling out on to the streets in what have been branded ‘queues of humiliation’ by locals
Medics move beds as a patients wait on benches in a hallway of the Rafic Hariri University Hospital as pressure mounts on hospitals
India has warned coal reserves are at record lows with coal-fired plants set to go dark in just three days.
Government data shows over half of the country’s 135 coal-fired power plants have fuel stocks of less than three days, far short of federal guidelines which recommend supplies of at least two weeks.
The crisis has already seen lights go dark in some northern and eastern states with fears the capital New Delhi may be next – and officials have warned the shortages could last through the winter.
The chief minister of New Delhi Arvind Kejriwal urged the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allocate more coal and gas to power plants supplying the capital amid fears of electricity cuts for the capital’s 20 million people.
Coal scarcity has been caused by a surge in demand from industries that caught power producers off guard and sluggish imports due to record global prices.
India has warned coal reserves are at record lows with coal-fired plants set to go dark in just three days (file photo)
Government data shows over half of the country’s 135 coal-fired power plants (pictured, a thermal power plant in Tamil Nadu) have fuel stocks of less than three days, far short of federal guidelines which recommend supplies of at least two weeks
Meanwhile China is battling through its worst electricity crisis in a decade with the country so short on power cities have been hit by blackouts and factories forced to close or else open for just a couple of hours per week.
The crisis, which began biting a fortnight ago, was caused by the cost of coal spiking as the economy reopened post-Covid, meaning power stations were operating at a loss and began to shut down.
Power outages have been reported in southern Guangdong province, but are most severe in the north eastern manufacturing hubs of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning.
Shopkeepers in China have reportedly been left to light their premises with candles amidst a recent three-day blackout that also brought down mobile networks.
An additional 16 provinces are thought to be rationing energy due to a shortage in supply, though have avoided full-scale blackouts.
In response, Shanxi – China’s biggest coal-producing region – has ordered its 98 coal mines to raise their annual output capacity by 55.3 million tonnes.
Shanxi will also allow some 51 coal mines that had hit their maximum annual production levels to keep producing.
In China’s No. 2 coal region, Inner Mongolia, 72 mines were told that they may operate at higher capacities immediately, provided they ensure safe production.
Fuel shortages are also affecting Europe amid a spike in demand for energy around the world as the global economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.
China is battling through its worst electricity crisis in a decade with the country so short on power cities have been hit by blackouts (pictured, Shenyang)
China is suffering an energy shortage sparked by the rising cost of coal as economies opened post-Covid, causing power stations to operate at a loss (file image)