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RUNNING ON EMPTY: Lebanon runs out of power and will be without electricity ‘for days’ after power stations run dry of oil – while India warns its coal-fired plants could go dark in just three days and blackouts hit China

Jim Est FEED
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Lebanon has no centrally-generated electricity after the country’s two biggest power stations shut down due to a fuel shortage, plunging six million people into darkness.

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Production stopped at Zahrani power station today hours after the Deir Ammar plant shuttered yesterday when diesel supplies were reportedly exhausted.

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A government official confirmed the country’s power network ‘completely stopped working at noon today’ and warned production was unlikely to restart ‘until next Monday, or for several days’.

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The official said the state electricity company would try to use the army’s fuel oil reserve to operate the power plants temporarily, but that would not happen anytime soon.

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The shortages are likely a result of the mismanagement after months of power wrangling between the country’s different factions.

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But it comes against a backdrop of energy shortages world wide and fears of global fuel shortages after India warned its coal-fired plants could go dark in just three days and electricity blackouts hit China.

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Officials said Lebanon’s network ground to a halt today after energy production dropped below 200megawatts – enough to power only about 5,000 homes.

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In July, Lebanon agreed a stop-gap deal with Iraq to supply fuel in a desperate bid to ease the crippling blackouts and shortages of essential supplies.

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The shortage has caused huge hours-long lines for basic goods spilling out on to the streets in what have been branded ‘queues of humiliation’ by locals.

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Many Lebanese normally rely on private generators run on diesel, although that is also in short supply.

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At times, people have queued for miles to fill up their vehicles, often resulting in chaotic scenes filled with violence.

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INDIA
India has warned coal reserves are at record lows with coal-fired plants set to go dark in just three days.

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Government data shows over half of the country’s 135 coal-fired power plants have fuel stocks of less than three days, far short of federal guidelines which recommend supplies of at least two weeks.

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The crisis has already seen lights go dark in some northern and eastern states with fears the capital New Delhi may be next – and officials have warned the shortages could last through the winter.

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The chief minister of New Delhi Arvind Kejriwal urged the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to allocate more coal and gas to power plants supplying the capital amid fears of electricity cuts for the capital’s 20 million people.

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CHINA
Meanwhile China is battling through its worst electricity crisis in a decade with the country so short on power cities have been hit by blackouts and factories forced to close or else open for just a couple of hours per week.

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The crisis, which began biting a fortnight ago, was caused by the cost of coal spiking as the economy reopened post-Covid, meaning power stations were operating at a loss and began to shut down.

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Power outages have been reported in southern Guangdong province, but are most severe in the north eastern manufacturing hubs of Heilongjiang, Jilin and Liaoning.

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Shopkeepers in China have reportedly been left to light their premises with candles amidst a recent three-day blackout that also brought down mobile networks.

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An additional 16 provinces are thought to be rationing energy due to a shortage in supply, though have avoided full-scale blackouts.

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Fuel shortages are also affecting Europe amid a spike in demand for energy around the world as the global economy recovers from the Covid-19 pandemic.

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