Ever since I moved to my new house a year ago, I’ve been struggling non-stop with the electricity and I hate to say that, but it doesn’t look like there’s a legal way to fix all these issues. I’ve been trying for months to figure out a way to finalize legal papers between the real estate company and EDL to have our own circuit breaker (disjoncteur), since we are using the main construction site one that powers three buildings, but it’s a very complicated and tiring process. In fact, it doesn’t look like any of the concerned parties (EDL, Real Estate company etc …) are interested in resolving this issue and as a result, you end up facing issues that no one has probably heard of outside Lebanon:
1- Main Circuit Breaker Keeps Going Off:
When the building doesn’t have its own electricity room yet, this circuit breaker is located on an electricity pole on the main road and it’s a hassle to turn it on everyday. Moreover, anyone passing by can turn it off and you can’t lock it because EDL officers can drop by anytime to make sure we didn’t replace the circuit breaker with a bigger one.
Of course it’s much easier during summer but imagine there’s a storm outside and you have to go down to turn it on and make sure you don’t get electrocuted in the process.
2- Lightning strikes the electric pole box and ruins the whole thing:
This happened 3 times now every since I moved to my new place. Last time, the whole electric box got burned at around 1 am, our phone was ruined and we ended up without electricity till the next morning. Luckily for us, the municipality takes care of such things so they fixed it the next day somehow.
I’m sure such things occur elsewhere in the world but not as often as they do here. Moreover, the setup is so bad lightning might ruin your home appliances in the process.
3- Generator overheats:
When there’s no electricity (EDL) for a long time, the generator owner sometimes has to rest his generator for some time and so you end up without electricity. We’re blessed to have a decent generator guy so this rarely happens but my parents used to suffer all the time from that.
4- EDL officer cut off the electricity.
Since we don’t have an electric room, there’s a bill that has to be paid by all the tenants. Usually the real estate company takes care of that until you register your house but after that, you have to pay a lump-sum bill for all the buildings connected to that same electric box.
The bills usually are much higher than the normal ones but the real problem is with the bill collector. The first time, he showed up and placed a paper on the door giving us a second warning (we never got the first one) and then he called two days later threatening to cut off the electricity if we didn’t pay. The second time, he also showed up around 10 am when everyone is away and when I called him to set up a date, he didn’t show up the whole week and called me on Sunday night to inform me that he’s visiting the next day.
5- Someone is stealing electricity and screws things up
It’s very easy to steal electricity when it’s a new building because the electric box is out on the street, and you can’t really do anything about it especially when you’re not home the whole day.
6- Neighbors who think they are electricians:
Electricians in Lebanon never show up on time and they rarely get the job done when they do. I don’t know what’s their deal to be honest but it’s easier to learn how to fix things on Google than expect your electrician to show up but electricity is obviously not something you want to play with. Unfortunately, you always have that neighbor who thinks he knows it all and ends up screwing everything.
Few weeks back, our house looked like a Christmas tree for an hour or so because one of the neighbors was doing some works.
7- Someone keeps switching off the electricity:
Since the circuit breaker is on the main road, anyone passing by can switch it off for no reason and this used to happen quite often at my parent’s place. In fact, we once monitored for a week the circuit breaker and finally caught the guy. Luckily for us, this is not happening where I live now but it happens a lot elsewhere. I remember Gemmayze residents used to complain a lot about drunk people switching off their electricity as well.
All in all, we were promised 24/7 electricity in 2015 but instead things got even worse than 2010 and it looks like we are headed towards 24/7 generators soon. I want to make things legal and have my own bill and our own electric box and I’ve been trying for a year now but in vain. Instead, I am paying inflated bills and I cannot control who’s stealing electricity. Until now, I still refuse to use wasta and I’m still trying to fix things for next year so let’s see how things go.
PS: There’s always the option of moving to Zahle.