He thanked the defense minister, the army commander and the leaders of Electricité du Liban, the national energy company, for their “rapid response to reconnecting the electrical network.”
The outage on Saturday had little immediate effect on the lives of most Lebanese, who have grown accustomed to blackouts and fuel shortages as the country suffers one of the gravest economic crises in recent history. The government has struggled to import fuel as the national currency has shed 90 percent of its value in the past two years. Prices for many goods have tripled.
The crisis has presented an opportunity for Iran, which has sent diesel fuel to Lebanon via the militant group Hezbollah, in defiance of U.S. economic sanctions on the purchase of Iranian oil. Visiting Lebanon last week, Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir Abdollahian, said Iran was ready to build two new power plants in Beirut and southern Lebanon that would produce 100 megawatts, equivalent to a third of the country’s electricity demands.
Lebanese who can afford it rely on private generators for electricity, but many are giving that up, too, as costs have soared.
Abdul Hadi al-Sabii, a 70-year-old taxi driver in southern Beirut, lives with his sister, who decided to cut off her generator connection after a bill that totaled 1.8 million Lebanese pounds, or about $100, according to the black-market exchange rate. They have given up meat and refrigerated foods, living mostly on lentils and grains, and he charges his cellphone using his car battery.