Lebanon Hit by New Crisis: Severe Electricity Cuts and Red Diesel Shortageإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Energy Minister Jebran Bassil has warned that severe power cuts would become much worse in the future after hundreds of angry citizens protested in Jiyyeh and cut the Beirut airport’s main road.
While refusing to comment on severe electricity cuts, Bassil only told Hizbullah’s al-Manar TV on Saturday that things would become much worse in the future.
“We had previously warned that an electricity explosion would hit Lebanon,” he said.
Bassil had blamed several parties in the government of obstructing his plans to fix the country’s severe electricity problem.
Protesters on Saturday chanted anti-Bassil slogans in Jiyyeh, south of Beirut. Gathering outside the power plant, they carried signs telling the minister that "the days of war are better than your days."
Angry protestors also blocked the road of Rafik Hariri International Airport.
A protest was also held on Friday in Aley, in the Shouf, where residents demanded Bassil’s resignation.
Another energy-linked crisis has erupted over accusations that Bassil had deliberately sought to give additional revenues to companies that “have certain political allegiances in the north.”
March 14 opposition lawmakers told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat on Sunday that the authority tasked with distributing red diesel, allocated at midnight Wednesday 8 million liters at the price of LL26,300 hours before the end of the government deadline of a LL3,000 subsidy.
But the lawmakers told pan-Arab daily al-Hayat the 8 million liters were sold the next day at the cost of LL29,300.
By such a move, Bassil sought to give benefits of hundreds of thousands of dollars to the companies in the north, they said.
The latest protests and blocking of roads in several areas came not only because of power cuts but also because red diesel, which is used for household heating, disappeared from the market when the subsidies were lifted on Wednesday.
But the energy ministry has claimed that a thunderstorm on Wednesday diverted diesel fuel bound for the Zahrani refinery in the South to the facility in the northern port city of Tripoli, which led to a shortage.