Saturday, 21 August 2010

Calls for ‘State of Emergency’ in Lebanon over Electricity Crisis

Thus, in Lebanon, electricity rationing is the “normal thing.” Living without power cuts seems, however, to be the “wrong” thing. The crisis is a “chronic problem” according to the officials. Therefore, the current government cannot be blamed. Yet, the government didn’t do anything to reduce the sufferings of its people.

The people found no solution other than protesting. Here and there, they decided to raise the voice against the incapacity of the state to provide them with electricity to at least face unprecedented heat wave witnessed during the weekend.

Yet, according to Prime Minister Saad Hariri, their protests are “unjustified.” Hariri was quoted as saying during the last cabinet session that the fact that some “angry” demonstrators are blocking roads with burning tires is not acceptable. He even wondered about the “real motives” behind such actions.

In the meantime, no tangible solution seems to be set.

Member of the Loyalty to the Resistance parliamentary bloc MP Ali Ammar called for announcing a state of emergency to solve the electricity crisis. He said that the cabinet should “act with seriousness” and hold an emergency session to discuss ways to solve power rationing.

The Hezbollah MP rejected statements made by Premier Saad Hariri that the government was waiting for the adoption of the state budget to solve the crisis. “There is a need to implement temporary and fast solutions for the sake of citizens,” he emphasized.

However, EDL Director-General Kamal Hayek said that the firm is not suffering from any failure in production and transfer. “We are distributing 1650 megawatts equally outside administrative Beirut,” he told Al-Manar, adding that no solution to the crisis would be reached before mid-September.

On Thursday, Hariri told an Iftar banquet in Qoreitem, however, that the electricity plan endorsed by the cabinet includes raising production to 3500 megawatts in the next four years. “Since 1998 there was no investment, not even in one megawatt. On the contrary, production went down from 1900 megawatts to 1600 megawatts,” he said. “We also allocated one billion dollars for ensuring electricity, but even the one thousand million dollars cannot provide 24 hour electricity and there should be partnership between the private and public sectors,” Hariri told his guests.

“We hope parliament would approve the budget as soon as possible in order to start work and implement the plan as soon as possible,” the prime minister said.

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