Lebanon News

Protests erupt as failed plant plunges country into darkness

This Jan. 2, 2007 file photo shows the Zahrani power plant. (Mohammed Zaatari/The Daily Star)

BEIRUT: Damage to a south Lebanon power plant plunged much of the country into darkness Monday night. The Zahrani power plant, which provides more than a third of the country’s power, stopped working around 7 p.m., cutting electricity in areas across Beirut, Tripoli, Koura and the south.

Protesters flooded the Dennawi-Beirut road with burning tires, blocking the Khaldeh road toward Beirut as well as the coastal highway at the Barja turnoff. Also blocked were the Tripoli-Beirut highway in both directions, the highway at Jiyye, and the Dahr al-Ain road in Koura.

Lebanon suffers a severe shortage in electricity. Rationing leaves Beirut in the dark for three hours a day, while in some parts of Sidon’s old city residents do not have electricity for 22 hours a day.

In March, Cabinet agreed to lease power-generating ships to solve the crisis, in addition to constructing 1,500 megawatt power plants. The ships are not scheduled to arrive until the end of the summer.

The Zahrani plant produces around 450 megawatts per day, making it the second-largest power plant in the country.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on June 19, 2012, on page 1.




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