Lebanon’s state-run electricity company, Electricité du Liban (EDL), has announced a gradual increase in power supply, stressing, however, the need to take preventive measures to avoid having the fuel shortage problem be repeated in mid-February.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the public electricity supplier indicated that it was able to increase the power supply following the arrival and unloading of some 28,900 tonnes of the first part of the diesel cargo that was supposed to arrive in Lebanon at the beginning of December. The delay in delivery was attributed to flaws in the public tendering procedures carried out by the Ministry of Energy and the terms and conditions for opening the documentary credit.

Since the evening of January 9, EDL has begun to gradually increase thermal production capacity, recommissioning a unit at the Deir Ammar power plant and increasing the production capacity of the gas unit at the Zahrani power plant, bringing total thermal production to around 400 megawatts.

EDL notes that the second and third deliveries of the 60,000-tonne diesel cargo, part of the same tender, are due to dock in Lebanon on January 15.

EDL warns, however, that it will continue to use preventive measures to extend the period of power generation as far as possible and maintain a continuous, round-the-clock power supply to vital facilities such as the airport, port, water pumps, sewage treatment plants and prisons to avoid total darkness.

The public supplier will therefore limit its thermal production to 400 megawatts for the time being, in order to avoid total darkness in mid-February, especially as the first delivery of the public tender recently launched by the Ministry of Energy and Water through the Public Procurement Authority website is scheduled to sail to Lebanon between February 27 and March 1.

The text also recalls that additional quantities were to be supplied to EDL under the Iraqi exchange agreement to meet January’s needs, but flaws in public tendering procedures delayed delivery. As Iraqi fuel cannot be used directly in Lebanese power plants due to high sulfur concentration, Lebanon purchased another type of compatible fuel from other suppliers who received the Iraqi fuel in exchange.

This led to the transfer of these quantities to the following month’s public tender, which will result in a drop in gas reserves.

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