Total power outage in Lebanon to last days as fuel shortage shuts down electricity grid

The al Zahrani and Deir Ammar power plants in Lebanon have ceased operations due to a lack of diesel and large parts of the country have no electricity

Lebanon suffered a power outage that lasted for days (

Image: NABIL MOUNZER / EPA-EFE / REX / Shutterstock)

Lebanon fell into darkness due to a total power failure that lasted for days.

The Middle Eastern country has limited electricity after its two largest power plants shut down due to a fuel shortage, a government official said on Saturday.

The al Zahrani and Deir Ammar power plants ceased operations due to a complete lack of diesel when energy production sank to below 200 megawatts.

That’s roughly enough to power the equivalent of 400,000 British households in a country of over six million people.

One official said: “The Lebanese electricity grid went completely out of service at noon today and is unlikely to work until next Monday or for several days.”

Lebanon is currently struggling with severe depression
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Image:

SIPA USA / PA images)

They added that the state-owned electricity company would try to use the army’s heating oil reserves temporarily to run the power plants, but that won’t happen anytime soon.

Many Lebanese usually rely on private generators that run on diesel, although that is scarce.

Lebanon is suffering from what the World Bank calls one of the deepest depressions in modern history.

Its economic collapse has plunged three quarters of the population into poverty and the Lebanese pound has lost 90% of its value in the past two years.

It is currently hit by a serious fuel shortage that has forced many businesses to close.

Those who cannot find supplies on the black market have to queue for miles to refuel their cars.

The huge demand for fuel resulted in tragedy last month when a man died after swallowing gasoline while trying to suck it from the tank of a vehicle.

In August 20 people were killed when a fuel tank exploded in northern Lebanon, where it was illegally stored in a warehouse.

Long queues have formed at gas stations
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Image:

SIPA USA / PA images)

While the UK is much less severe, it is facing a fuel shortage after a wave of panic buying.

Brian Madderson, chairman of the Petrol Retailers Association (PRA), said only 71% of gas stations in London and the South East have both gasoline and diesel, compared to 90% in the rest of the UK.

He warned that fuel shipments were going to “the wrong parts of the country”.

The government insisted that “the situation is getting better”.

Mr Madderson alleged that independent retailers were being denied access to information from talks between the government, transport companies and oil companies.

“We don’t know when the deliveries will arrive and we don’t know how to prioritize them,” he said.

“The return to normal fuel levels continues to be hampered by the current inappropriate prioritization policy.”

Figures from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) show that gas station storage tanks in the southeast – including London – were 16% full on Sunday nights, compared to 25% across the UK.

The average UK inventory dropped to 15% on Saturday 25 September, the day after the panic buying began.

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