On Friday, the Minister of Interior Bassam Mawlawi said that Lebanon’s electricity company (EDL) is charging $16 million to supply power on election day scheduled for May 15.
The Lebanese minister told Agence France-Presse (AFP) that this sum surpasses the overall election budget by approximately 30%.
As reported by AFP, EDL asked for a budget of $16 million from the government, for just half a day’s supply to polling stations.
Mawlawi commented that he held multiple meetings with EDL, which can not provide electricity supply except at a very high cost, and the payment must be done in cash.
“The entire elections, at home [in Lebanon] and abroad, don’t cost this much,” Bassam Mawlawi said. He added that the government is working to keep the polls on the scheduled date “despite persistent rumors” that it could be postponed.
According to him, EDL wants to charge that exuberant cost for an electricity supply yet without a guarantee that it will meet its side of the deal: “I can’t rely on the state because, despite the demanded high cost, EDL can’t guarantee solid results… which may lead to a sudden blackout.”.
Hence, the government may use private generators to light up the voting centers at night when the votes are counted.
He asserted that the electricity issue in the country is the “biggest problem facing Lebanon… but we will be able to solve it for the day of elections.”
The international community has been urging serious reforms in Lebanon’s electricity sector, which cost the country approximately $40 billion, yet, the Lebanese officials are still too “busy” to make such reforms.
Meanwhile, the people are the ones paying the price of corruption, with many living in poverty, struggling to buy the necessary medications, and passing through severe anxiety and mental issues.
Hundreds of lives were lost to accidents due to dark streets at night and many are without a power supply to their life-critical oxygen tanks.
That’s in addition to many other essential amenities problems that are hard to imagine could exist in 2022, such as food getting spoiled in home fridges, people living and students studying in the glare of candles, some sleeping on their balconies during the summer seasons for some breeze, and so on.