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Libya facing crippling power and water shortages

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Libya facing crippling power and water shortages

23rd January 2017

By: African News Agency

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Power began slowly returning to parts of Western Libya on Sunday after the authorities announced measures to address persistent and crippling shortages.

In the capital, Tripoli, the situation has also improved significantly since last week with residents now receiving electricity for approximately half a day.

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The Libya Herald reported that Tripoli’s electricity grid network had returned to relative stability after the reopening of the pipeline that feeds the Zawia power station, 45 km west of Tripoli.

The fuel blockade to the critically important power plant had been one of the main reasons for the widespread problems.

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Despite the improvement, however, there remains a shortfall of almost 1800 MW with the capital experiencing several power cuts a day. Nevertheless, the deficit is expected to be less than 500 MW by the end of March, meeting 75 percent of demand.

In addition to the power cuts, Tripoli is also suffering water shortages with more than half its population relying on the Hasawna reservoir.

In the south electricity supply remains an even bigger problem and officials have announced that in order to meet demand they will operate a system of five hours on and five hours off.

On Sunday National Oil Corporation (NOC) chairperson Mustafa Sanalla claimed Libya had lost $18.5-million when the dual-fuel Zawia power station was forced to use higher-cost diesel while its feeder gas pipeline was blocked at Bir Terfas.

The crippling power shortages in the west and south were triggered when a local militia closed the gas pipeline to the Zawia power plant after some of their people had been kidnapped.

The NOC is planning legal action against the people responsible for closing the valve feeding the Zawia power plant.

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