IEC chairman predicts tough week ahead

Yiftach Ron-Tal asks the public to minimize use of air conditioners, and other appliances to prevent blackouts.

"It's going to be a tough week," said Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) (TASE: ELEC.B22) chairman Yiftach Ron-Tal at a press conference today. "We learned the lesson of the power outages in 2006, and the main lesson was to prepare the public for what is going to happen."

Ron-Tal, Minister of Energy and Water Resources Uzi Landau, and ministry director general Shaul Tzemach held the press conference to raise public awareness of possible rolling blackouts during the summer. "This summer is one of the most challenging and important," he said.

"I hope that the fire permit for the oil-powered Reading Power Station will not be delayed," added Ron-Tal, hinting that the Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality was delaying the utility's plan to reopen the power station in the city.

Landau said, "Today, tomorrow, and the day after, and during this summer, we have a problem. We need to mobilize the public to prevent blackouts." He called on large electricity consumers to save power, and for the public to minimize the use of air conditioners, computers, and other appliances.

The last time there were blackouts was in 2006. The primary reason for the current lack of power reserves is because two large projects - the Alon Tavor power station and Project D (the coal-fired Rothenberg Power Station in Ashkelon) - were not ready. The second reason is the natural gas shortage, which has reduced power stations' efficiency, and increased the number of breakdowns.

"We've been readying for this situation for over a year. IEC is working round the clock to maximize the use of generating units. We've completed one of the units at Reading, and we only need the fire permit. I hope that no one will delay it," said Ron Tal.

Tzemach said that last year's recommendations have not been implemented, forcing IEC to prepare without the additional means of production it asked for. He cited the cooperation of other ministries, including the Ministry of Environmental Protection. "We're here today not to announce blackouts on any particular day. We came to ask for the public's cooperation under conditions of probable low reserves. Under these conditions, any failure could cause a temporary disruption," he said.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - - on July 12, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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