The Israel Electric Corporation has asked the public to conserve electricity during the ongoing heat wave in hopes of preventing blackouts over the next week.

As temperatures surge during over the next few days, the IEC said it expects electricity demand to be extremely high – at 11,500 megawatts on some days – which may necessitate forced blackouts. The company may have to stop power lines intermittently throughout the country, it said, in outages will last only about an hour and will be divided among customers equally.

The weather forecast for the next week shows expected temperatures throughout the country of about 36 degrees Celsius, with humidity levels reaching between 50 and 60 percent. The heat index, factoring in the humidity, will be about 46 degrees Celsius, the IEC reported.

Due to the fragile state of the country’s electricity reserves, the company therefore asked that the public conserve and divert the use of energy-intensive devices to early morning or late evening only. Residents should particularly refrain from using such appliances as dishwashers, washing machines, ovens, electric cookers and vacuum cleaners between 12 and 5 p.m., as well as make sure that air conditioners are set on 25 degrees Celsius or above.

Meanwhile, the IEC said it is preparing for the heat wave by running all production units at its disposal and by making special arrangements with private power producers. The company apologized in advance about the difficulties that its customers are likely to experience and reminded residents to backup all devices that require power.

Aiming to ensure the population’s safety, the IEC recommended ensuring the integrity of all generators in highrise buildings every six months, including connections to elevators, alarm bells in elevators and emergency lighting systems. If stuck in an elevator during a power failure, the company reminded residents to call the fire department at *102 and said that rescues can only be performed by someone authorized to do so.

“The IEC will continue to make every effort to provide its customers [with] all electricity demands, and thanks the public for understanding, responsiveness and cooperation,” a statement from the company said, reminding customers to check its website regularly for updates about outages.

The same day, the IEC also announced the official launch of its Facebook page and its participation in a wide range of social networking platforms – Twitter, YouTube, Picasa, Flickr and blogs. By taking part in social media, the company can “create a direct connection with the company’s customers,” especially during the days when they “might have to cope with unexpected power shortages,” the company said.

“The launch of social networking activities, specifically these days, is designed, among other things, to create more open communication with the public for transmitting messages and information about managing anticipated shortages in the electricity sector during summer months and in general,” said Eli Glickman, CEO of IEC.

“These new communication channels are part of a process of openness and transparency with our large community of clients.”

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