Over the past decade, Lebanon’s electricity sector has floundered despite successive government initiatives pledging transformative reforms. The National Electricity Company (Electricité du Liban – EDL) finds itself constrained, incapable of delivering more than a mere four hours of electricity per day. The Ministry of Energy and Water consistently attributes this shortfall to a lack of funds, perpetuating a narrative that justifies channeling additional public resources into the sector. In its latest policy maneuver, the government increased utility bills under the pretext of acquiring more fuel, yet this strategy failed to translate into an ameliorated power supply. Instead, power outages have intensified, exerting a profound impact on the daily lives and operations of citizens, institutions, and businesses across diverse sectors, significantly escalating overall operational costs.
LIMS clarified that EDL is incapable of augmenting production, enhancing distribution, or efficaciously collecting outstanding bills, thereby incurring substantial financial losses that burden the public treasury. Consequently, LIMS’ current PRISM project (Private Initiatives to Service Municipalities) advocates for a departure from government interference in the electricity sector, proposing a pivot toward private-sector-led solutions. In response to the prevailing economic crisis, citizens have begun adopting solar panels as a means of reducing dependence on the state. The success of individual solar power adoption serves as a potential harbinger for more efficient entrepreneurial solutions, such as the establishment of solar farms at the municipal level, capitalizing on economies of scale.
LIMS emphasizes that involving the private sector in renewable energy projects at the local level could not only redound to the benefit of the local economy but also alleviate the financial strain on businesses grappling with exorbitant electricity bills in exchange for an unreliable supply. In light of this, financially strapped municipalities are urged to transition to a user payment model, wherein private companies offering energy services charge end users directly. This trend towards decentralized electricity production and distribution should exert sufficient pressure on the parliament to streamline the law and enact legislative proposals conducive to a more sustainable and distributed energy landscape.
- Electricity Under The Guardianship Of Municipalities: Ending The Ministry Of Energy And Its Projects? November 14, 2023: Al Modon, Article AR