Thursday, 28 August 2008

Power surge

Jordan said on Wednesday it has offered to sell power-starved Lebanon between 50 and 70 megawatts of electricity a day until the end of 2009 to help the country meet a drastic shortfall, reports the AFP news agency.

Jordan's energy minister Khaldun Qteishat told his Egyptian, Syrian and Lebanese counterparts in Amman that the kingdom was ready to provide Lebanon with electricity "at special prices," the state-run Petra news agency reported.

"We are studying the Jordanian offer," Petra quoted Lebanese Energy Minister Alan Taburian as saying, adding that his country needs 2,200 megawatts of electricity to meet daily demand, but currently generates only 1,400 megawatts.

"Around 25 percent of Lebanon's gross domestic product (GDP) goes on energy," Taburian said. Earlier this month he said Egypt would supply his country with 200 megawatts daily.

Electricity is a constant concern for the Beirut government, which allocates the third largest slice of its budget, after debt servicing and salaries, to power supply.

The country suffers daily power cuts, including in the capital where many businesses and apartment blocks use generators to tide them over during lengthy blackouts.

The situation has been made worse by high fuel costs.

Jordan already supplies the Jericho region of the Israeli-occupied West Bank with 20 megawatts of electricity per day.

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