Turkey's Karadeniz says it will halt power supply in Lebanon

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IsTANBUL BEIRUT, May 11 - The Turkish Karadeniz, which supplies electricity from power bars to Lebanon, said on Tuesday that Beirut must halt litigation in order to sort out arrears or it will shut down supplies to the country that is embroiled in a financial crisis.

A Lebanese prosecutor issued a decision last week to confiscate the barges and fine the firm after the TV channel al-Jadeed reported corruption allegations tied to the Power Contract.

The firm insists on the charges and said at the weekend it had not been paid for 18 months, a period which coinciding with Lebanon's financial crunch.

A spokesperson for Karpowership, a unit of Karadeniz that operates the floating plants, issued the demands after Lebanon's Finance Ministry cited a lawmaker who said the country could be facing total darkness if the company reduces supplies.

Even before the economic crisis, Lebanon was unable to meet the demand for power, forcing many people to rely on private generators.The latest power cuts have been steadily growing, lasting much of the day in Beirut before the daily threat to supplies.

German lawmaker Nazih Najem was quoted saying that Turkish power supply could be stopped after the end of the week.

The economy of Lebanon is under a mountain of debt, leaving the government struggling to find foreign currency to make payments for even basic food and other import needs, including fuel to run its inadequate power stations.

The spokesperson of Karpowership said Lebanon must begin actions by a prosecutor to seize the company's ships and draw up a plan to fix arrears.

Karadeniz threatened to disconnect supply of around 400 megawatts saying this would reduce generation capacity to 900 MW, well below demand that is more than three times that point by some previously estimates.

Karadeniz had warned the weekend that it could maintain supplies, although it also said it hoped that a reasonable solution can be reached urgently so it could cut supplies.

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