Caretaker Economy Minister Raed Khoury said that strict measures will be taken against private generators owners who enforced a two-hour shutdown on Tuesday depriving subscribers from power supply, al-Joumhouria daily reported on Wednesday.

“The Ministry will legally pursue all private generators owners who cut off electricity. We will take strict measures against them, they will be called to the judiciary and the generators will be confiscated,” Khoury told LBCI TV station.

According to the TV station, the municipality of the neighborhood of Hadath issued more than 30 violation notices against several and referred them to the Criminal Court in Baabda.

Between 5:00 and 7:00 PM on Tuesday, the owners turned off their generators in protest to what they said were “campaigns against them and unfair tariffs” set by the ministry of economy.

They also refused the summons they have been receiving.

Khoury had emphasized that those who were “taken into custody had made illegal practices and violations by intimidating people and attempting to steal them.”

In an attempt to regulate an already illegal sector, the ministry issued a memo earlier this year ordering generator owners to install meters, and has specified a new per-kilowatt-hour rate.

In theory, the ministry’s move aims to protect subscribers from exploitation by paying for the power they use instead of a flat rate for a generator subscription.

Generator owners opposed the measure and described the pricing as “unprofitable.”

For his part, a spokesman for the committee of generators, Ali Bawji, told LBCI: “We are ready to hand in the generators to the municipalities. We did suggest this to the municipalities, but they refused it.”

Jreissati Warns Generator Providers against ‘Rebelling against State’
by Naharnet Newsdesk

Caretaker Justice Minister Salim Jreissati on Wednesday issued a stern warning to neighborhood power generator providers, telling them that authorities would “confiscate” their generators should they stage another cut-off protest.

“We will confront the attempts to bend the state’s arm through the force of the law,” said Jreissati at a joint press conference with caretaker Economy Minister Raed Khoury.

“What happened yesterday was a rebellion against the state’s authority and an encroachment on the rights of citizens,” Jreissati added.

“There is a mafia controlling this sector and I call on municipalities to fine the violators,” the minister went on to say.

Providers had switched off their generators for two hours on Tuesday, plunging most Lebanese regions into darkness, to protest perceived maltreatment at the hands of authorities and security forces.

Authorities have been trying to implement a decree obliging providers to install meters for their subscribers amid an uproar over new tariffs and alleged technical difficulties.

“There is an attempt to undermine the state’s image and this will not happen during this presidential tenure. The state is stronger than everyone,” Jreissati added.

“We will escalate our measures under the applicable laws against generator owners who have not complied,” he warned.

“The measures could reach the extent of confiscating the generators,” he cautioned.

Jreissati also noted that the judiciary had already launched proceedings against providers who took part in Tuesday’s cut-off.