Turkey’s Karpowership, which supplies electricity to Lebanon from two barges, said it was closing supplies due to late payments and a legal threat to its ships amid the country’s economic crisis.
The company, which supplies 370 megawatts (MW), or about a quarter of Lebanon’s supply, told the government this week that it should close in the absence of moves toward a deal.
The closure threatens a daily light cut across the heavily indebted nation, which did not have enough capacity to meet demand even before the Karpowership measure it announced on Friday.
Many people rely on private generators or struggle several hours a day without electricity.
“Very hard times”
In a statement, the company said it was closing supplies.
“For 18 months we have been extremely flexible with the state, continuously supplying energy without payment or payment plan, because the country was already facing very hard times. However, no company can operate in an environment with such a risk. direct and undue, ”said Karpowership, a Karadeniz unit.
A source familiar with the situation said the move was made around 8am (05:00 GMT) as the ships ’fuel had been running low.
The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the delays exceeded $ 100 million and added that the government had not reached talks or tried to resolve a legal case, despite repeated appeals. of the firm to avoid closure.
Lebanon’s finance ministry said it had been notified by the Turkish company and quoted a lawmaker as saying the country could face “total darkness” in the event of closure. He has not made any public statement about any conversation.
A Lebanese prosecutor threatened this month to seize the barges and fine the company after Lebanese television channel al-Jadeed reported allegations of corruption over the electricity contract. The company denies the charges.
He said he had not been paid for 18 months, a period that coincides with the financial crisis, and added that he was looking for a “reasonable solution” to keep the generation going.
Each of its barges has a capacity of 202 MW against a contract to supply a total of 370 MW.
An industry source said Lebanon’s total capacity was about 2,200 MW, including barges, but only generated a total of 1,300 MW, including Turkish supplies of 370 MW. Lebanon’s maximum demand in 2020 was 3,500 MW, the source said.