[News] Israel Bars Repair of Gaza Electricity Grids, Plant Again Threatened with Closure

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jul 21 12:57:26 EDT 2015

  Israel Bars Repair of Gaza Electricity Grids, Plant Again Threatened
  with Closure

author Tuesday July 21, 2015 06:49author by IMEMC News & Agencies

    Israeli authorities have prevented Israeli power firm from repairing
    electricity grids supplying Gaza Strip, Palestinian officials said
    on Monday.

A technical error in the Israeli side cut off two main power grids 
supplying electricity to the Gaza Strip over the weekend. The down lines 
provide 25 percent or 30 megawatts, of the electricity that the Israeli 
occupation sells to the Strip.

Power grid No. 8, which provides electricity to central Gaza and parts 
of Khan Younis, shut down three days ago, and Al-Qubba grid, which 
provides electricity to the Gaza City, shut down on Sunday, according to 
Days of Palestine.

Officials of the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company said the company 
is attempting to cooperate with the Palestinian Power Authority to 
repair the broken grids, but said the Israeli occupation is obstructing 
their efforts.

Meanwhile, the occupation also is preventing the Israeli Electricity 
Corporation from fixing the grids on the grounds of security concerns.

Gaza currently receives electricity from the Israeli occupation, Egypt, 
and a power station inside Gaza.

However, these supply lines fall far short of the Gazan population’s 
needs. While the three suppliers provide 230 MW of electricity, the UN 
estimates that this meets only half of Gaza’s needs.

The Israeli occupation and Egypt have maintained a severe blockade of 
the Gaza Strip for the last eight years that has crippled the coastal 
enclave’s economy by limiting imports, exports and movement of people.

Although the power plant inside Gaza has a potential output of 120 MW, 
it has been unable to produce that much due to Israeli restrictions on 
fuel imports and high taxes imposed by the Palestinian Authority based 
in Ramallah.

Therefore, the Gaza plant generally produces around 60 MW, 50 percent of 
its potential.

Last summer the plant was targeted during the 51-day Israeli offensive 
on Gaza, completely knocking it out of commission. The Gaza power 
authority said at the time that the damages from the attack could take 
up to a year to fix completely.

Gaza suffers 12 hours of power outages each day. Many individual homes 
have their own generators, and households can purchase extremely 
expensive fuel that comes into Gaza for private consumption.

*Plant threatened with closure*

The plant will stop running Monday evening as it is unable to cover 
taxes imposed by the national unity government, Gaza's energy authority 
said, according to Ma'an News Agency.

The unity government waved the tax in a show of good will in the four 
months to the end of Ramadan, but the Gazan energy authority said in a 
statement Monday that since the tax has been reinstated it can no longer 
afford to keep the plant running.

The energy authority added that it had only been able to cover the cost 
of maintaining the plant during the holy Muslim month of Ramadan and the 
Eid holiday by borrowing from local companies and taking loans from banks.

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