The debt of Gaza Strip residents to Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) (TASE: ELEC.B22) stands at NIS 220 million at present, according to a "Globes" investigation. This is only a small part of the NIS 1.5 billion owed by Palestinian electricity consumers.
IEC petitioned the High Court of Justice last month to instruct the Ministry of Finance to allow it to stop supplying electricity to Palestinians, or to pay their debts from the tax receipts collected by Israel for the Palestinian Authority.
IEC is continuing even now to supply electricity to the Gaza Strip. Under orders from the Israeli government, electricity is provided to Gaza on 10 high-tension lines with a transmission capacity of 120 megawatts/hour. IEC asserts, however, that this capacity is not sufficient to supply all the power needs of the Gaza Strip's 1.8 million residents. Gazans recently said in interviews that they were getting electricity only 12 hours a day.
In addition to IEC, a 140-megawatt power station owned by GPGC, a subsidiary of the Palestine Electric Corporation (PEC), owned by the Palestinian Authority, is operating in central Gaza. Hamas personnel provided security for the visit to the plant a few months ago by a Swedish maintenance team from Siemens.
The power plant can operate using natural gas, but is using diesel, because the Gaza Strip is not connected to the gas pipeline network. In 2006, following the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, the IDF bombed the plant, hitting its transformers. According to the company website, the plant, currently maintained by German company Siemens, operated regularly during Operation Pillar of Defense. Sources inform "Globes" that the plant was shut down several months ago as a result of higher fuel prices, but Israel believes it is currently in operation.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 13, 2014
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