Electricity Blackouts in Lebanon: An Ongoing Problem

by Raya on February 9, 2015 - 10:01pm

Twenty-two years ago, my parents immigrated to Montreal, Canada in 1991 due to the consecutive wars happening in Lebanon. They escaped pain and misery and ran away of the consequences of the wars that affects an important human need: the electricity in households.

As much as we don’t feel it us, Canadians, electricity is a vital need. Meanwhile in Lebanon, the citizens cannot have full access to electricity because of the accumulation of wars that reduced the efficiency of the electricity in the country. Also, the politics of the country do not give full privilege for constant electricity, perhaps due to political dishonesty, in other words, corruption.

In the middle of midst and hot summer weathers, the poorer side of Lebanon does not have access to air conditioning, which leads to dehydration and heatstroke to the ones who cannot afford electricity. In the city of Beirut, people have suffered of nine hours without electricity instead of the three hours of usual electricity cut in the summer of 2013. In rural sectors, people have even less access to electricity. More than 40% of the population demands 1.1GW more as electricity.  And protests are underway.

As a Canadian, when I went to Beirut last winter, I understood how exhausted the citizens were of the lack of electricity. Because of problems from the past, the citizens of the future have to cope with all the consequences without leading to any progression whatsoever. Their old problems affects the new generation.

I was shocked to see how my grand-parents had to, not only pay a fortune to be able to use a service that is often taken for granted here in Canada, but to pay it and not have a total access to it. In Lebanon, not everybody has access to electricity like middle-class citizens do here. Middle-class and poor people struggle to obtain it. It is like a privilege for people in this country to have electricity. During extreme climatic conditions, they live in hostile situations because they do not have enough money to survive. However, rich people do not have a problem with it. Nowadays, it is a necessity to live with electricity and I think that here, in Canada, we are not thankful enough of what we have. We ignore how much of a privilege it is and we need to acknowledge it.  

Overall, I think that we all need to be thankful with what we have. We have to think about how lucky we are to have all these resources because many think that what we consider as banal and obvious to have is a privilege to them. Most importantly, if one has a big heart, he should always give back to these poor people who do not have access to electricity.

This text was originally taken by “Blackout; Lebanon’s electricity” by The Economist Press on The Economist on August 3rd 2013, http://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21582570-power-cuts-are-symptom-deeper-malaise-blackout



As soon as I saw the title of your article, I was immediately intrigued and started reading it. As much as you, I can only understand the exhaustion of the citizens. The problem of lack of electricity in Lebanon is nothing new. As you said: "electricity is a vital need". Born and raised in Lebanon, my best friend and her family often talked about the misery of not having the presence of electricity constantly. They always explained how the dryness of the weather and the lack of electricity often lead them to the brink of a nervous breakdown. Unfortunately, in the past years, multiplication and elongation of electrical power cuts in Lebanon are increasing. In my opinion, this is not a problem anymore, but a disaster. And, we must understand that in a country like Lebanon, poverty leads to rebellion or submission. So, that lack of electricity has led the people to riot. Rarely publicized, these events are tougher to live in than what we truly imagine. It must be understood that because of the absence and the lack of commitment of their State, power grids have deteriorated and fraud became ubiquitous in Lebanon. Having heard of this catastrophe on numerous occasions, I've realized how we, the people of Canada, have the amazing chance of having unlimited access to electricity. Compared to those individuals, we live in complete luxury. With no doubts, I agree with your idea of being thankful for the living conditions we have.