We are paying the penalty and the power supply has not improved!

We are paying the penalty and the power supply has not improved!

| Monday 16 January 2023

Rania Chakhtoura, "Akhbar al-Yawm" agency

The plants are no longer fit for production and cannot be operated once the fuel is pumped

"Electricity... The Lebanese are paying the penalty and the fuel has not arrived yet! "In short, this is the reality and this is the bottom line of the ongoing debate between Prime Minister Najib Mikati, Energy Minister Walid Fayyad and his political team.

Prime Minister Mikati has set the date of the Cabinet session at 10:00 a.m. next Wednesday, where Item No. 2 is the decree on the Treasury advance that allows the opening of a documentary credit in favor of Vitol Bahrain EC worth 62,019,344 US dollars to cover the purchase price of 66,000 metric tons of gas oil in favor of the Electricity of Lebanon, in order to avoid possible losses resulting from delays in unloading cargo ships and in order to secure the necessary fuel for the production plants in the EDL" .

It is known in this context that 4 ships loaded with fuel docked 25 days ago off the shore, and have not yet unloaded their cargo as a result of the failure to open the credit, and therefore the EDL incurs losses in the amount of 18 thousand dollars fine for each day of delay in unloading for each ship.

For his part, the minister of energy, who refused to attend the session, revealed at a press conference held today that the total fines accumulated by the state due to the failure to unload the fuel ships moored at sea amounted to almost one million dollars", he said: "the ships exist and if they are approved for unloading, then the minimum power supply may rise to about 4 hours in a quick time".

A source familiar with the electricity file explains via the "Akhbar al-Yawm" agency that the tariff correction was for the possibility of refunding any advance in favor of the EDL with profits, to enable the continuity of the sector, but until today, the tariff has increased and the power supply has not improved!

Commenting on the words of Minister Fayyad, the source says: reform matters are not done randomly, but must be integrated and continuous, adding: correcting the tariff loses its usefulness unless it is accompanied by securing the actual collection.

It is noteworthy that when EDL developed the emergency plan (approved by the minister of energy), it confirmed that the correction of the tariff is among the most important conditions of collection and security and judicial support, especially in light of the collapse, but what raises questions is the legal status (of service provider companies that receive bills issued by EDL) and the extent of its powers. He continues: If EDL obtains the full collection, it will collect bills in Lebanese currency as it is a public institution, and this money will be transferred to the Bank of Lebanon, which will carry out disbursement operations according to the black market or according to Sayrafa, knowing that Sayrafa is not a legal platform whose role and tasks are specified according to a law issued by the House of Representatives.

In response to a question, the source is surprised that the import of fuel is requested at a time when the funds have not been secured, while the country's main problem is in the loss of liquidity, and therefore, from where will this amount demanded by the minister of energy be insured? Are there any deposits, have the depositors' opinions been taken into account?..

The source also points out that Minister Fayad considers that the amount of 62 million dollars is not enough, because he wants the amount of 300 million dollars, as it also aims at maintenance, because the plants are no longer fit for production, including those who have been out of work for 3 years or more and cannot be operated once the fuel is pumped. Thus, the price of fuel is insufficient for operation, because the largest part of the 300 million dollars is for maintenance.

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