A group of armed men stormed into Ajilat 220 kV power plant and detained the members of the committee tasked by the General Electricity Company of Libya (GECOL) to fact-check the issue of power outages and blackouts in the area, GECOL said in a statement on Facebook on Tuesday.
The gunmen conditioned the release of the three members of the GECOL committee to Ajilat power plant being exempted from power outages altogether; meaning they want their district to have 24/7 electric power regardless of the GECOL's load shedding policy.
The committee was appointed by the GECOL to inspect the blackout that took place in the western region last Friday and they started their job in the western region but were attacked and detained in Ajilat by those gunmen.
On Friday, western Libya from Ras Ajdair to Sirte went into a total blackout before power had been restored and stabilized on Saturday, while on Monday cities and districts from Sirte in central Libya to Tobruk in eastern Libya experienced a blackout as well.
Similar assaults - documented by the attackers themselves in footage on Facebook - were conducted on two power control centers in Al-Ruwais and Shakshook by gunmen from western mountain cities, which are refusing to be included in the GECOL's load shedding hours that aim to drop the overload burden on the general network.
According to GECOL, in addition to western mountain cities, Al-Khums and Al-Zawiya are also rejecting the idea of load shedding.
Libya has been for the last few days undergoing a heat wave with temperatures exceeding 40 - 44 °C in most cities leading to more demand and use of electric power, thus obliging the GECOL to resort to load shedding hours reaching over 15 hours a day in some cities.