A man in Sidon was arrested by State Security for allegedly stealing electricity from the public network. He had been stealing and reselling electricity for 6 years. The man, identified as H.F, had a list of more than 30 subscribers. He was brought before the public prosecutor in Saida after the operation was dismantled with the help of the Sidon Electrical Company.
Electricity theft has been a longstanding issue in Lebanon, as longstanding as the electricity issue in Lebanon. These thefts started during the civil war with some residents using wires to divert power from the supply of paying customers.
A matter that went on to increase with the poor supply of electricity by the government to the citizens for decades. In fact, these diverting wires are not a rare public scene in Lebanon, yet little has been done about them through the years.
In recent times, the Ministry of Energy and Water, headed then by Nada Boustani, conducted several crackdowns on electricity violations. She launched many campaigns in order to reduce the number of thefts and grid failures.
The country has been facing an electrical crisis for decades now. However, it has only gotten worse with the fuel crisis. At the beginning of January, the back-then MP Nada Boustani announced that the amount of fuel in Lebanon is only sufficient until the end of February 2020, which is not going to make things any better; on the contrary.
In a country where there has been no 24/7 electricity, people have resorted to a multitude of measures to ensure having a constant flow of electricity in their homes, or at least enough to see them through the basics, like hot water and cooking.
Those with financial means have resorted to the use of private generators, and some with little to no means have resorted to diverting power lines from the main cables.
According to BBC, it is estimated that nearly half of the power that the government-run Electricite du Liban (EDL) supplies to the country is stolen.
Electricians who boast of calling themselves "Robin Hoods" often redirect power lines from communities that have their electricity on to those that are suffering from the blackouts.
The reason many people resort to stealing electricity from the main power lines is that the extra bill paid to private generators is very expensive. Many cannot afford to pay the extra cost that is required to run a generator for their homes.