The electricity problem in Lebanon is a very serious one yet we haven’t seen any significant progress in recent years. We have over a million Syrian refugees now, which means more electricity consumption hence more power cuts. Ever since I moved to my new house, I’ve been paying around $130-150 monthly for 10 amperes which aren’t even close to what we consume on a normal day. Take for example a regular working day where you get home tired and hungry after 2 hours of traffic, and just wish to heat up some food in the microwave and wash some clothes before you sleep. Once you turn the washing machine or the dryer on, you can’t use any other home appliance. Moreover, I can’t use my microwave if the electricity is off as it needs around 8 amperes to start and I would have to turn off the whole house just to start it. These are two silly examples on how the lack of electricity affects our every day-life and are nothing compared to the families who don’t have heating systems and have to rely on electrical heaters to stay warm and heat up the water. Of course I’m assuming you’re getting 10 amperes and not less as all generator owners tend to trick you. I’m lucky to have a decent guy run the generator.
This being said, Zahle’s move to provide its residents with 24/7 electricity is a huge accomplishment and a brave move against the generator mafia. We’ve all seen how the generator gangs demonstrated against EDZ’s initiative and even fired and damaged four transformers a couple of weeks ago. As a result and until the transformers are repaired, many residents will only get 12 hours of electricity and will be forced to pay generator owners for the rest.
Of course the government is to blame for everything that’s happening and the generator gangs are just filling a vacuum but corruption runs so deep in this country that politicians assign generator owners for certain areas and get paid monthly fees. The Economist wrote a long article on the Zahle incident and how bad the situation is. I personally believe we need more initiatives like the EDZ one to weaken these gangs and let people rally against them.
If some politicians and ministers wish to truly fix the electricity problem, they should start with their towns, cities and areas before tackling this whole mess. We need to decentralize this problem and any other problem as nothing will ever be accomplished otherwise. Zahle residents will not let generator owners win this battle because it concerns them directly and will significantly improve their lives and the city’s economy.