EDL: necessary reforms before privatization
Electricite du Liban was founded in 1964. Very affected by the war, EDL had since benefited from very important rehabilitation programs up to $1.8 billion. But ever since 1994, EDL has not stopped scoring losses amounting to $ 1.6 billion according to the Finance Ministry.
The first problem that EDL encounters is the bill default rate estimated at 30 to 50 percent of total bills, which amount to $466 million. Along with this, the problem of illegal connections might very well prevent the privatization from being an easy task.
On the other hand, the privatization of the power plants is to be considered and it could yield to the government between $0.8 and $1.5 billion, according to several economists (Daily Star, 10/00).
All the efforts should be concentrated to: renew and train the staff, develop the distribution channel which nowadays allows the power plants to run at only 30 percent of their capacity, set a proper collection schedule of bills, take rigid measures against electricity theft, work towards the conversion to natural gas generated power which will alleviate Lebanon from being at the mercy of the fluctuating cost of fuel oils. — ( Banque Libano-Française Sal )