Dating in the 1920s and now
“It is a core economic crisis in Lebanon - what will happen in the industries, with economic development, with growth?” The government has been spending an average of around billion annually on subsidies to purchase fuel for EDL, or around 15 percent of government expenditure, Beides said.“The technical solutions are all proven and tested, what is needed is the political will to make a decision,” Beides said. Rival political blocs blame each other for the electricity crisis and tensions have been exacerbated by the conflict in Syria, which has driven more than 1 million refugees into Lebanon and put more strain on infrastructure.Lawmakers nearly came to blows at a meeting meant to address infrastructure issues this month.“The situation (with electricity) is not bearable for the Lebanese people any more,” said Mustafa Baalbaki, the creator of a phone app, Beirut Electricity, which tracks outages and is used by 15,000 people daily.“Honestly, I don’t care about the app itself, the app could die if the electricity problem is fixed and I would love that.” Lebanon’s presidency has been vacant for more than a year in the absence of an agreement on who should take the post, and the parliament elected in 2009 has extended its own term and postponed elections until 2017 on the grounds of instability.
She was speaking outside the headquarters of national utility Electricite du Liban (EDL), where residents wryly point out that only parts of its sign are illuminated at night.
“They threatened me, they threatened my family, they phoned me. It is very important in this country to keep going right to the end - things are difficult everywhere but especially in Lebanon.” Zahle was able to go ahead because of the local concession contract dating from the 1920s and strong local backing.
Asked about repeating this elsewhere, the EDL source said the priority was an overhaul on a national level under a 15-year government plan announced in 2010 which aims to eventually provide 24-hour electricity across the country.
The local electricity company, a rare utility concession that buys power from the national grid, decided to take action to fill the gap.
“There was a huge desire and pressure from the people, from customers who said, why are you not producing electricity instead of the generators?