About 14,000 households in Israel are still without power because of the storm that hit the country at the weekend. Some 6,000 of these homes are in Jerusalem, and most of the rest in surrounding communities, Judea and Samaria, and around Safed, according to figures released by Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) this morning. In the past two days, tens of thousands of homes have experienced power outages, but 80% of them have had power restored by IEC emergency teams.
Severe criticism of IEC was voiced at the weekend, accusing it of being unprepared for the storm, despite the fact that extremely harsh weather conditions had been forecast. IEC CEO Eli Glickman rejected the criticism, saying that the company deserved a medal for the way it had dealt with the disruptions to supply caused by the storm.
Glickman to Galei Tzahal (IDF Radio) this morning, "Of course there are lessons to be learned from every event like this, and they will be learned, but in the end we were well prepared for the storm. I can only give praise to the workers and management of Israel Electric Corporation.
"We can't work magic," Glickman added, "If a tree falls on an electricity pylon we can't help that. If snow accumulates on the pylons and topples them, we can't help that either, and no amount of tree trimming will make any difference."
Asked why more had not been invested in cutting back trees close to power lines or even in putting lines underground as in other countries, Glickman replied, "Something like that will cost at least NIS 100-200 billion, and it takes many years. If someone will sign a check for it, we'll do it."
It was reported at the weekend that the State Comptroller would investigate the collapse of infrastructures in the storm, among them power supply. "I invite the State Comptroller to inspect and investigate in depth, and I'm convinced that IEC will receive plaudits from him. This was a once in a hundred years storm, and everyone was taken by surprise."
Meanwhile road 1 connecting Jerusalem and Tel Aviv has been reopened to public transport and supply vehicles, but ice on the road makes driving hazardous.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 15, 2013
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