Lebanese parliament approves plan to restructure electricity

Lebanese parliament approves plan to restructure electricity
Civil servants protest near the government building during a parliament session to approve a plan to restructure the country's electricity sector, in Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, April 17, 2019. State employees fear they could have their salaries cut as the government discusses austerity measures to avoid a financial and economic crisis. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

BEIRUT (AP) — Lebanon’s parliament has passed amendments necessary to implement a plan to restructure the country’s crumbling electricity sector.

Wednesday’s approval was widely expected in the country that has suffered electricity problems since the civil war ended in 1990. Subsidies to the state electricity company cost the government nearly billion a year.

The approval came as hundreds of civil servants protested amid reports that their wages might be cut as part of austerity measures.

The plan aims to secure an additional 1,450 megawatts of temporary power by next year so that total output will reach 3,500 megawatts — enough to provide 24-hour electricity.

On the longer term, the plan calls for power production to be increased by more than 3,000 megawatts over the next six years by building new plats and relying more on renewable energy.