During this past week, the Power Company in Israel (Israel Electric) has been performing initiated power breaks all across the country. The reason is the company’s inability to provide the high demand for electricity, now that summer has fallen upon us so swiftly and with intense heat…We all know how unexpected that is in Israel…
In the meantime the citizens of Israel have to endure the inconvenience caused by the lack of power. This includes being stuck in an elevator for half an hour. Yesterday more then forty cases of elevators getting stuck were reported to local emergancy units. In Tel-Aviv alone eleven people had to be rescued from shutdown elevators. The Fire Department requested people to stay away from elevators for the time being, which is really fun when you work on the 22nd floor of a building, it’s 35 Degrees Celsius outside (40 degrees in the stairwell), and you are back from eating a spicy Schwarma sandwich !!
But aside from these small inconveniences, one family suffered a tragedy because of the power breaks. Dudu Dahan, (19) was killed on Monday while driving through a junction in which the traffic lights were out. His parents and friends said he was the most careful driver, one who never drove without a seatbelt, was never willing to let one more passenger then was permmited by law into the car and did not speed. The junction in question was known as a dangerous one even with the traffic lights, some people say, so without it, it was a death trap.
The Quality of Governement Commission sent a letter to the State’s Critic to investigate the Power Company’s conduct. “This sort of a situation when the monopoly company for electricity in Israel can not provide the demand during the summer is unacceptable and obligates us to investigate the company” the movement wrote in their letter to the Critic. “This situation endangers the lives of our civilians.” The letter also mentioned the Critic’s own findings of defects in the Electric company’s structure and management two years ago. It was further suggested that the break in power supply were intentionally done by the labour union and its leaders flaxing their power over the politicans in power, in particular the Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer.
“The conspiracy theories are ridiculous” said yesterday the chairman of the company, Shlomo Rotman to Maariv, “There was no attempt by the company or someone within it to pressure government officials with these power breaks”.
An anonymous source within the company said that the power breaks and disruptions of service were caused by a campaign done by environmental organizations to shut down the highly polluting power plant Reading power station in Tel-Aviv. That is after Environment Minister Gideon Ezra has decided to reopen Reading to stop this current crisis.
Rotman congratulated him for it and seemed satisfied, but some say that this could have been the intention behind the breaks all along. That way the company just bypassed the law and got the government to give them what they want.
The Reading station has been the source of 25% of the air pollution in Tel Aviv. It was due to be convereted to Natural Gas but the move was hamppered by Israel Electric RED TAPE. This crisis has now provided Israel Electric a chance to operate the station on fossil fuels for 21 days and then return to the conversion process.
Conspiracies aside, it is obvious to all that there was a great failure here just as it is obvious to all that no one will pay the price for it (Except the consumers, of course) and nothing will be done about it. That’s how it is when you hold an entire county by its… Electrical sockets.
Written By Raz Koller and EB