18 new neighborhoods in Israel will be connected to the natural gas distribution system in a joint pilot by the Israel Natural Gas Authority in the Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources, the Ministry of Finance, and Israel Land Authority (ILA). The pilot, which will be marketed in 18 neighborhoods throughout Israel currently under construction and slated for marketing in the coming year, will cost NIS 80 million. The list includes neighborhoods in Tur'an and Akko in the north and Ofakim and Netivot in the south in which 31,000 housing units are to be constructed.
According to the pilot, at least three natural gas connection points will be installed in each of the apartments, with an option to install additional points. Consumers taking part in the pilot will not pay the cost of being connected to natural gas, and their meters will be smart meters broadcasting the exact amount consumed by the customer to the control system, similar to water meters. The gas can be used for cooking, heating water, an oven, a clothes dryer, and a barbeque, to operate heating under the floor, and in the future for air-conditioning and other uses. The Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources says that natural gas is more worthwhile, safer, easier to operate and maintain, and environmentally friendlier.
Minister of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources Yuval Steinitz said that the pilot was being conducted as part of a policy to encourage the use of natural gas. "The Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources is furthering the continuation of this measure in order to lower costs and substantially reduce air pollution for all consumers," he explained.
Over the past two years, the Natural Gas Authority conducted a comprehensive feasibility study for connecting homes to natural gas, and found that in comparison with liquid petroleum gas (LPG), used for cooking, which is used in most Israeli homes, natural gas is cheaper and can save hundreds to thousands of shekels a year if 20 cubic meters a year is used.
Two new neighborhoods are already connected to natural gas: the Hapark neighborhood in Ofakim and the Nahal Hapark neighborhood in Beersheva. The Ministry of National Infrastructure, Energy, and Water Resources says that the experience accumulated from these neighborhoods contributed greatly to a more profound understanding of pricing the costs of planning, implementing and supervising in the pilot.
In the framework of the pilot, ILA will sign agreements with the regional distribution companies, with ILA being responsible for control and supervision of infrastructure construction in a neighborhood and payments to the distribution companies. The gas will be marketed to the consumers by natural gas marketing companies, and every consumer can choose the marketer and switch freely between them.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on October 10, 2019
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