A race against time: Will Syrian and Palestinian camps in Lebanon face blackouts?

News Bulletin Reports
2023-09-06 | 10:19
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A race against time: Will Syrian and Palestinian camps in Lebanon face blackouts?
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3min
A race against time: Will Syrian and Palestinian camps in Lebanon face blackouts?

Will electricity be cut off from Syrian and Palestinian camps in Lebanon by winter?

Regarding the Syrian refugee camps, Lebanon's Electricité du Liban (EDL) has been engaged in negotiations with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for months. 

EDL has proposed that the UNHCR deduct a sum directly from each refugee's aid to be paid directly to it in exchange for providing electricity to the camps.

Sources within EDL report that the initial response from UNHCR was rejection, although another meeting is scheduled for next week between the two parties, indicating that part of the aid provided to the Syrian refugees is allocated to the cost of electricity, so why is it not paid directly to the institution?

EDL obtained from UNHCR the names and numbers of property owners where the Syrian refugee camps are located and the numbers of those responsible for the camps and assigned the local administrations there to communicate with them.

Furthermore, some Syrian camps make payments directly to property owners for electricity, while others channel their payments through overseeing associations. 

Meanwhile, many camps suspend electricity and do not pay. Additionally, 900 electricity meters have been installed by the institution, waiting for someone to pay. 

According to EDL sources, if an agreement is not reached next week, the institution will escalate the matter to the ministerial committee responsible for the electricity plan, potentially resulting in withholding electricity from camps that do not make payments.

Regarding Palestinian refugee camps, numerous households have electricity meters, but many others, constructed through unauthorized horizontal and vertical expansion, lack electricity meters and, therefore, do not cover the cost.

As part of its negotiations with UNRWA and the Lebanese-Palestinian Dialogue Committee, EDL had proposed installing a primary outlet for each camp, provided that a company in the camps would collect [bills] from the homes. 

Additionally, terms and conditions documents have been submitted in this regard. However, the main issue that hinders progress is who will conduct the tender and how the cost will be distributed among the camp households.

If negotiations fail here, the matter will be escalated to the ministerial committee responsible for electricity to make an appropriate decision, given that no party can benefit from electricity without payment.
 

Lebanon News

News Bulletin Reports

Lebanon

Syrian

Palestinian

Refugee

Camps

Electricity

Blackout

Electricité Du Liban

UNHCR

UNRWA

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