Khoury Tells ‘Angry’ Generator Owners: Meters Will Be Installed

by Naharnet Newsdesk

As the government puts into effect a consumer protection measure pressing private generator owners to install electricity meters, caretaker Economy Minister Raed Khoury emphasized on Tuesday that there will be “no backing down on the decision.”

“Private generator owners have no reason to reject the ministry’s decision and install meters” to follow on energy consumption each subscriber is using, said Khoury. “We will not back down on the decision,” he stressed in remarks he made to reporters.

The confrontation seems open-ended between the two parties, and some private generator owners have threatened to cut their services as they refuse to comply with the government measure aiming to regulate the sector.

On Monday, the government started the installation of meters to measure the exact consumption of electricity by subscribers in order to determine the exact prices that should be paid.

The move drew the ire of some private generators owners who argue that prices of services set by the government will affect their profits.

Lebanon has been plagued with electricity rationing for decades amid the government incapability to provide sufficient power.

The Lebanese resort to private operators to compensate for the outage.

Jaber Urges ‘Deep’ Electricity Dialogue as Siemens Confirms Offering Help – NAHARNET

by Naharnet

MP Yassine Jaber of Speaker Nabih Berri’s bloc on Thursday warned of the seriousness of the electricity crisis in Lebanon and its negative impact on the state’s finances.

Chatting with reporters, Jaber stressed that there is “no dispute” with the Free Patriotic Movement or caretaker Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil, expressing willingness for cooperation.

He however noted that the “national electricity problem” requires “deep dialogue.”

“We must sit together to find any chance to address this situation,” Jaber added.

“The debate over the electricity file was concluded yesterday after the chairman of Germany’s Siemens announced that the company had offered to help Lebanon and that other proposals would be presented,” the lawmaker said.

In response to a Lebanese journalist’s Twitter question on whether Siemens presented or discussed “any offer to the Lebanese government or Cesar Abi Khalil,” Siemens chairman Joe Kaeser said: “Yes, we did.”

“During the visit w/ our Chancellor, I did offer to help improve the whole electricity value chain and have our team to come in and assess what’s best for the people. No response yet from Government. Our door is open! Offer still good. Call Anytime!” Kaeser added.

His response comes after controversy in Lebanon on whether Abi Khalil had rejected a proposal from Siemens.

After Kaeser’s reply, Abi Khalil tweeted in English: “We look forward to cooperating with Siemens on needs assessment, and accordingly maybe receiving a formal proposal.”

He also stressed that Siemens did not present a “formal” proposal during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s visit to Lebanon.

The electricity controversy followed a leaked audio recording in which Jaber accuses Abi Khalil and the FPM of “wasting a great chance for Lebanon.”
Jumblat: Aoun an Advocate of Reform Should Begin with Electricity File – NAHARNET

26 September 2018,

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat stressed he has “no personal conflict” with President Michel Aoun, urging him to address the problematic file of electricity “since he is an advocate of reform,” al-Joumhouria daily reported on Wednesday.

“I don’t have a problem with anyone. When I say the (presidential) mandate is a failure I don’t mean the President. I mean the whole system,” said Jumblat in an interview to the daily.

“I have nothing against President Aoun. I don’t have a personal conflict with him. He has called for reform so let him begin with the electricity file,” he added.

Lebanon has for decades struggled with daily power cuts. Blackouts have been a fixture of life in the country since the 1975-1990 civil war.

On the government formation delay, Jumblat reiterated commitment to allocate three Druze ministerial portfolios for the PSP.

“We insist that we get three ministers. When serious talk begins, then we would be ready for negotiations taking the (parliamentary) elections outcome into consideration,” he said, pointing out that further delay would entail additional costs on the treasury.
Pro-Berri MP Says Aoun’s Term Will ‘Destroy Lebanon’ in Leaked Audio

by Naharnet Newsdesk 23 September 2018, 17:33

An audio recording in which MP Yassine Jaber warns that the new presidential tenure will “destroy Lebanon” has spread on social networking websites and created a wave of controversy over the country’s chronic power generation crisis.

“Unfortunately this presidential tenure will destroy Lebanon in an unacceptable manner… The president and the energy minister are pressing to get $500 million on top of the $1.5 billion to provide electricity for a number of hours until the end of 2018. Unfortunately the country is being taken into the abyss,” Yassine says in the recording, referring to a Cabinet session that was held around the time German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited Lebanon.

He also notes that Merkel had proposed a plan that enables Lebanon to provide a 24/7 power supply for a cost of $800 million with the help of the German company Siemens.

Caretaker Energy Minister Cesar Abi Khalil disputed Jaber’s claims and announced that Siemens “did not take part in any tendering process.”

He also dismissed the MP’s remarks as “rumors and hearsay.”

Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblat had earlier voiced support for Jaber’s statements, urging officials to heed his warnings.

“His voice exposes the farce of the Turkish (power) ships, which are one of the main reasons behind the deficit and the public debt,” Jumblat tweeted.