Turkey’s Karpowership, which supplies power to Lebanon from two ferries, says supplies have been cut off due to payment arrears and a legal threat to its ships amid the country’s economic crisis.
The company, which supplies 370 megawatts (MW), or un-quarters of Lebanon’s supply, told the government this week that they would have to shut down if there were no steps toward a settlement.
The shutdown threatens higher daily power cuts to the national debt, which lacks sufficient capacity to meet demand even before the Karpowership move was announced on Friday.
Many people rely on private generators or struggle for many hours a day without power.
‘Very difficult times’
In a statement, the company said it was shutting down supplies.
“For 18 months we have been much more transformed in the state, continuing to provide power without payment or a payment plan, because the country is already facing difficult times. However, there is no company can operate in an environment that is as direct and safe as possible, ”said Karpowership, a Karadeniz unit.
A source familiar with the situation said the move was made around 8am (05:00 GMT) because the ships were running out of fuel.
The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the arrears exceeded $ 100m and added that the government had not arrived for talks or to try to resolve a legal case, despite repeated appeal to the company that prevented the closure.
Lebanon’s finance minister is said to have announced this to the Turkish company and quoted a lawmaker as saying the country could face “total darkness” if there is a closure. It did not make a public statement about any of the talks.
A Lebanese prosecutor has threatened this month to seize the ferries and fine the company after Lebanese TV channel al-Jadeed reported allegations of power contract corruption. The company denies the allegations.
It was said to have been unpaid for 18 months, a period coinciding with the financial crisis, and added that it demanded a “reasonable solution” to sustain the generation.
Each of its ferries has a capacity of 202 MW against a contract to supply a total of 370 MW.
An industry source says Lebanon’s total capacity is about 2,200 MW, including ferries, but only generates a total of 1,300 MW, including Turkey’s supplies of 370 MW. Lebanon’s maximum demand in 2020 will be 3,500 MW, according to the source.