The electricity grid in Lebanon has reportedly cut off electricity in the entire country as the two main power stations ran out of fuel.
The blackout in the country of almost six million is expected to last for several days, a government source told various regional media.
The al Zahrani and the Deir Ammar power stations stopped working after diesel supplies were exhausted, and energy production dropped to below 200 megawatts.
The outage leaves the country – which is already in the midst of an economic and political crisis – in the dark, officials confirmed.
The affected Deir Ammar and Zahrani power stations had been providing 40 per cent of Lebanon’s electricity, news channel RT reported, referring to the power station’s operator, Electricité Du Liban.
No more foreign currency
The facilities reportedly ran out of fuel because the government lacks foreign currency to pay foreign energy suppliers.
Ships carrying oil and gas had reportedly refused to dock in Lebanon until they had received payments for their deliveries, and only in US dollars.
In the past, power-supply issues have been frequent, with residents able to get electricity for only two hours a day. However, an all-out, country-wide power outage had not occurred before.
Lebanon has been paralysed by an economic crisis, which has deepened as supplies of imported fuel have gradually dried up. The Lebanese currency has sunk by more than 90 per cent in the last two years.
In recent months power outages in Lebanon caused by a shortage of fuel have been affecting every aspect of daily life with empty bakeries, hospitals pushed to crisis point and family businesses struggling to survive.
Amid the chaos motorists have been forced to queue for miles to fill up their vehicles and fights over fuel are frequent.
Reportedly residents are being forced to rely on electricity from private generators which is prohibitively expensive and relies upon diesel supplies which are fast running out.
A state official reportedly said the country’s national electricity company would try to use the army’s fuel oil reserve to operate the power plants temporarily, but that would “not happen anytime soon.”
The power outage comes as the country is still recovering from an enormous explosion at the port in the Lebanese capital Beirut, in August of last year. The blast shook the entire capital.
The explosion killed 150 people and injured 6,000 while destroying large parts of the city. A temporary government was appointed following the blast which prompted the government to resign.