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Shalom okays electricity discounts for needy
By SHARON UDASIN
26/12/2013
Among te beneficiaries will be pensioners, the disabled, Holocaust survivors who receive income support and lone soldiers.
 
Energy, Water and National Infrastructures Minister Silvan Shalom on Wednesday signed off on regulations that will ensure the continuation of electricity bill discounts for needy populations.

Among the beneficiaries will be pensioners, the disabled, Holocaust survivors who receive income support and lone soldiers (those without close relatives in the country), the ministry said. Bituach Leumi, the National Insurance Institute, identifies those eligible.

The new regulations, under the Electricity Sector Law, will grant the discounts to groups, many of which received similar reductions via a temporary order that will expire on January 1.

According to the new regulations, the eligible groups will receive 50-percent discounts on their domestic electricity bills for the first 400 kilowatt-hours they consume each month, the ministry explained.

Electricity prices last rose on May 16, to 54.03 agorot per kilowatt- hour, equivalent to 63.22 agorot per kilowatt-hour when factoring in the 17% in tax.

At a Knesset Economic Affairs Committee tour of the Hagit power station, in the Megiddo region, on Sunday, however, Israel Electric Corporation CEO Eli Glickman warned that damage from the recent storm could cost the company about NIS 1 billion. “Lowering the tariff before 2015 could bring the company into a crisis,” he stressed Water tariffs, on the other hand, will fall by 5% on January 1. The rate will fall from NIS 9.26 per cubic meter – or NIS 14.91 per cubic meter, including tax – to NIS 8.8 per cubic meter.

This is the first reduction in water tariffs in a decade, Water Authority Commissioner Alexander Kushnir explained at a Knesset committee meeting earlier this month.

By approving the electricity discounts, Shalom stressed that he was “keeping with the promise” he made when he took office, to lower rates paid by needy populations but also by consumers in general.

“This price discount joins a reduction in water prices of 5% announced recently,” he said.

“This is another step in lowering the cost of living, and we will continue this trend soon in other sectors.”
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