Lebanon at risk of complete blackout by end-Sept, state power firm says

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A general view of Beirut central district, Lebanon, August 22, 2019. Picture taken August 22, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Azakir

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BEIRUT, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Lebanon's state electricity company said on Thursday it risked a total blackout across the country by end-September as its fuel oil reserves dwindle.

Lebanon, in the throes of one of the worst economic meltdowns of modern history, has been plagued by worsening fuel shortages for the past few months with most Lebanese relying on private generators for power.

The company can generate less than 500 megawatts from fuel oil it secured through a deal with Iraq, it said in a statement.

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It said its reserves of both Grade A and Grade B fuel oil had reached a critical point and had run out already for some plants that have now stopped production.

"The network already experienced total blackouts across the country seven times and if this continues there is a high risk of reaching total and complete blackout by end September," the statement said.

Iraq signed an agreement in July allowing the cash-strapped Lebanese government to pay for 1 million tonnes of heavy fuel oil a year in goods and services.

The heavy fuel oil is not suitable for use in Lebanon, but it is exchanged in tenders for a suitable grade.

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Reporting By Maha El Dahan and Laila Bassam; editing by Jason Neely and David Evans

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