A Palestinian woman washes by candlelight during a power cut in the kitchen of her home in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Electrical lines that supply power to the Gaza Strip from Egypt were partially restored over the weekend, Gaza Electricity Distribution Company spokesman Muhammad Thabet said Sunday, after they were out of service for two months.
“This led to an improvement in the arrival of electricity,” the Hamas-run Energy Authority in Gaza said late Saturday night.
There are two electrical lines from Egypt that have the potential to supply the Strip with 28 megawatts of power. However, the two electrical lines are currently supplying Gaza with 13-14 megawatts, according to Thabet.
The two electrical lines from Egypt frequently fail and require servicing.
Gaza, which has been suffering from extremely long power outages over the past several months
, is currently receiving a total of 148-149 MW, Thabet said: 13-14 MW from Egypt, 70 MW from Israel, and 65 MW from the Gaza power station.
The Strip’s total demand for electricity is approximately 400-500 MW, according to Gisha, an Israeli NGO that monitors the humanitarian situation in Gaza.
Thabet said that over the past couple of days, Gazans have received between six to eight hours of electricity daily.
“There is more electricity available now because our ministries are not consuming electricity for the holiday,” Thabet said, referring to Eid al-Adha, “But after everyone returns to work in a few days, we expect the schedule to return to four hours of electricity daily.”
On behalf of the Palestinian Authority, Israel previously delivered 120 MW to Gaza, but cut its deliveries there to some 70 MW in June. The PA had asked Israel in April to decrease its supply to approximately 70 MW.
The PA decided to decrease its payments for electricity Israel sends to Gaza to pressure Hamas to cede control of the Strip. Hamas has controlled Gaza since 2007 when it ousted the PA from the territory.
Abbas recently told a group of left-leaning Meretz MKs that he could completely end payments for electricity and other budgets for Gaza, if Hamas does not give up control of the Strip.
Gaza’s sole power plant was also temporarily closed in April, May and in part of June due to a lack of fuel. However, following talks between Hamas, Egyptian intelligence officials and self-exiled Fatah leader Muhammad Dahlan, Egypt started sending shipments of millions of liters of cheap diesel fuel to Gaza.
“The Egyptian fuel has helped, but it is not consistent and its arrival is subject to the security situation in the Sinai,” Thabet stated.
Egypt temporarily stopped fuel deliveries in July following a suicide bombing in the Sinai that left 26 Egyptian soldiers dead.
A resident of Gaza City, who agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity, said he was “satisfied” with the increase in electricity supplyover the past few days, but said action needs to be taken to sustain it.
“Its been great to have more electricity for the holiday, but I know we will suffer through longer power outages when it ends,” the resident said.
“The PA, Hamas and Israel need to take action to make sure we have a continuous supply of electricity. It is unacceptable that they have allowed the political situation to determine whether or not we receive basic services like electricity.”