Beirut: Lebanon has been experiencing lengthy power cuts up to a whopping 20 hours a day and authorities say they could last up until Saturday.
Major cities plunged into complete darkness as residents say the outages were worse than those experienced during Lebanon’s Civil War.
Gulf News obtained a copy of the Ministry’s media statement that said power cuts have been lengthened mainly due to lack of required funds to pay for fuel that was supposed to be offloaded from vessels berthed outside power stations.
The severe weather has made the situation even worse as choppy seas made it difficult for vessels to reach close enough to shore to empty their reservoirs.
“Electricity Du Liban [EDL] faced difficulties to arrange for payments required for the fuel. The weather also made it difficult for vessels to empty their fuel carriage (due to high waves) in EDL’s reservoirs. Power infrastructures have suffered damages because of the weather … mounting technical difficulties to provide normal power connections. The outage had to be lengthened. Weather will be normal by Friday and it’ll possible to fill the reservoirs,” read the statemen from the Ministry of Energy and Water.
Lebanese have been protesting against political corruption and deteriorating economic conditions since October 17.
Due to intermittent power cuts that stretched up to 20 hours per day across different areas, backup generators in residential and commercial properties had to be shut down after long hours of consumption.
Angered citizens took to the streets on Wednesday and Thursday to block roads and entrances of several EDL branches to express their anger over the situation.
More than 12 protestors were reportedly injured due to heated confrontations with the law enforcement officers before EDL branch in Tripoli.
Protesters were mostly blaming Free Patriotic Movement’s President Gebran Bassil for the power outages as the Ministry of Energy and Water has been run by the FPM since 2009.
Bassil is also Lebanon’s foreign minister and has been singled out by protesters as one of Lebanon’s most inept and corrupt.
The power cuts come at inopportune time as a snow storm caused temperatures to drop as low as 5 degrees Celsius.
Renowned journalist Ramez Qadi tweeted that the money spent by thieves and unsuccessful rulers on electricity are enough to light up the earth.
Meanwhile, Sky News Producer Larissa Aoun uploaded a video of the protestors at EDL’s entrance.
Hashtags such as “Lebanon's power is switched off” and "where did the electricity go?" were trending.
“Out of 80kms on the South-Beirut highway, only 10kms were lit,” one tweet read.
Protesters also invaded Qadisha Electricity Power Station on Wednesday evening and shouted: “we are paying for electricity and they don’t want to give it to us”.
-With inputs from Layelle Saad, GCC/Middle East Editor