Lebanon’s state power company Electricite du Liban (EDL) raised the price it charges for electricity for first time since the 1990s on Tuesday, an EDL spokesperson said, in a move officials say will pave the way for an eventual increase in power supply.
Lebanon has not had round-the-clock power since the 1990s and cash transfers to EDL to cover chronic losses have contributed tens of billions of dollars to the country’s huge public debt.
Electricity-sector reform is a key demand of donor nations who have pledged to help Lebanon exit a financial crisis if it undertakes reforms.
Government officials have said that increasing the price of power would allow the state to afford to purchase more fuel to fire power plants, thereby increasing supply from an hour or two per day to up to 10 hours per day.
Analysts say weak governance, corruption and mismanagement are at the root of the sector’s problems and remain largely unaddressed
Power will now be priced at 10 US dollar cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for the first 100 kWh consumed, and 27 cents per kWh for consumption above that, the EDL spokesperson said.
The higher end of the new tariff is roughly half what people pay for subscriptions to private generator services that have filled the power gap for decades.
New power costs would be calculated in Lebanese pounds at the central bank’s Sayrafa platform exchange rate, which sat at around 30,000 pounds per US dollar Tuesday.
The price for state power in Lebanese pounds was previously equivalent to roughly 1 US dollar cent per kWh.
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