Across Lebanon, people are crying out that the electricity rationing has become unbearable. While some suffer in silence, others are taking to the street in a scene that has become increasingly familiar.
The so-called “state electricity” is now practically absent from most Lebanese households, most of the time, in many cities and villages.
While the ongoing heatwave is enough to agitate the burned-out citizens, the power cuts are only adding fuel to the fire.
And fuel, as it happens, is the root of the problem that has caused even Zahle, the city of 24/7 electricity, to go dark.
An incompetent electricity sector is nothing new to the Lebanese. Many have grown used to paying an additional electricity bill to private generator owners who work to cover for the state’s failure to provide power.
However, now that these generators are going dry thanks to the prevailing fuel crisis, even the backup plan has failed to deliver, and this is what many are complaining about.
As a result, seeing no response from the state to their unabating calls for the provision of the most basic living conditions, some people are now diverting their furious attention to the local private generator owners.
On the main street of Harouf-Doueir in Nabatieh, for instance, a fight broke out between a group of locals and a generator owner due to the latter severely rationing the area’s electricity supply.
The verbal conflict soon evolved into physical aggression, prompting the Lebanese Army to rush to the scene and cool the situation down.
Similarly, in Ain Baal, South Lebanon, as locals were protesting the harsh outages by blocking the main road, a conflict arose when an army vehicle was denied passage.
Though the conflict was eventually resolved, the original problem did not; the smoke of the burning tires was seen again the next day, and the prolonged power cuts did not seem to subside.