Finance Ministry Distances Itself from EDL Warning on Rationing

The finance ministry denied on Tuesday that it failed to make allocations to state-owned Electricity du Liban, saying there was enough fuel oil for the firm to function and not to impose power cuts.

“We never delayed opening Lines of Credit … fuel and gas are available,” the ministry said in a statement.

“If EDL is having other problems, such as maintenance, then the ministry has nothing to do with that,” it said.

The ministry opened last week Lines of Credit worth 129 million dollars and intends to allocate another 45 million dollars to provide the needed energy until the end of the year, the statement added.

The ministry said the EDL's accusations were part of an “organized campaign” against it, a day after caretaker Public Works Minister Ghazi Aridi slammed it for causing the floods in the streets of Beirut and its suburbs last week.

Officials at EDL said Monday that there could be further electricity rationing in Lebanon over a two-week delay in payment for fuel oil by the ministry.

The delay led to a postponement in unloading the fuel to the power stations due to the bad weather and high waves, the officials said.

But they said the Lebanese would avoid the tough rationing in the next few days if the company was able to unload the fuel on Tuesday.

The EDL warning came as the country braces for a storm that meteorologists say will bring snow to areas that lie 500 meters above sea level on Wednesday.

"Alexa" is forecast to bring several days of rain in lower altitudes and a steep drop in temperature.

As the storm looms, heating resources are needed for households to warm their homes.

But the state-run company said Wednesday that it will take a series of measures to increase power generation during the storm.

Electricity rationing was sharply reduced lately when two Turkish power-generating ships were leased to provide a total output of 270 MW.

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