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Management of the Israel Electric Corporation came under severe scrutiny in a Ministry of National Infrastructures report Tuesday for failing to identify and control the gravity of its capacity situation and act accordingly, which in turn weighed on the crisis and led to a series of electricity blackouts in early June.
"The electricity blackout report is very grave and I call upon the management of the Israel Electric Corporation to examine the report and its conclusions and come back to me swiftly with answers and personal conclusions regarding responsibility for failures as well as an action plan," said Minister of National Infrastructures Binyamin Ben-Eliezer. "In any event, it is in my intention to act upon the results of the report."
The conclusions and recommendations of the report were put together over the past month by a committee set up by the Director General of the Ministry of Infrastructures, Eli Ronen, to investigate the deficiencies that led to the rolling electricity blackouts on June 4 and 5.
"We are still studying the report and will respond to the findings in due time," said the IEC. On Wednesday, Uri Ben-Nun, the CEO of the IEC is expected to meet with the Ministry of National Infrastructures.
The blackout report concluded that the management failure of the IEC, systemic failures and capacity and maintenance planning failures were the main reasons for the countrywide electricity blackouts.
"Despite the knowledge by the production and transmission division and the management of the IEC regarding a possible capacity shortage to manage electricity demand, precautionary actions such as adjusting the maintenance capacity program were not taken in order to prevent the anticipated blackouts," the report stated. "Although information about expected electricity shortages was known already at the beginning of March 2006, the maintenance plan was not adjusted to the situation."
Other management failures mentioned in the report were the closure of Tel Aviv's Reading power station because of the delay in transferring the power station to environmentally-friendly natural gas and the renovations of production units at various power stations, which were supposed to be finished before the end of June. The Reading station made the move to natural gas over the weekend.
Furthermore the report discredited the claim that the IEC was caught by an ill-timed heat wave at the beginning of June.
"Meteorological forecasts received by the IEC on May 31, just days before the blackouts, were pointing to a coming heat wave expected to lead to sharp rise in electricity demand," claimed the report. The committee argued that the IEC should have made every effort to prepare for the expected surge in electricity demand, but that it failed to do so.