A Palestinian woman stands by a fence during a protest calling for an end to the power crisis, outside the power plant in the central Gaza Strip April 23, 2017..
(photo credit: REUTERS)
After receiving six to eight hours of electricity daily during the Eid al-Adha holiday, most Gazans received four hours of electricity daily over the past week, Gaza Electric Distribution Company spokesman Muhammad Thabet said on Tuesday.
“Since the holiday, the amount of electricity available to the Gaza Strip’s residents dropped: 60% are receiving four hours and 40% are receiving six hours,” Thabet said in a phone interview.
According to Thabet, Gazans received more electricity during Eid al-Adha because most of the Strip’s government institutions and factories did not operate over the holiday, which took place between August 31 and September 4.
“When everyone returned to work after the holiday, it was not possible to maintain six to eight hours daily for everyone,” the spokesman said.
Nonetheless, Gazans are still currently receiving more electricity
than they have for most of the past five months.
Thabet said the import of Egyptian fuel to power Gaza’s sole power plant and the restoration of two electrical lines from Egypt that feed power into Gaza have increased the quantity of available electricity in the small territory.
Gaza is currently receiving a total of 158 Megawatts of electricity, he said: 23 MW from Egypt, 70 MW from Israel, and 65 MW from the Gaza power station. The Strip usually receives around 220 MW, but disputes between Hamas and Fatah have recently led to significant reductions.
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.
However, Thabet stressed that there are no guarantees that the current levels of available electricity can be sustained.
Gaza power crisis
“The amount of available electricity can decrease at any moment,” he said, “if Egypt stops fuel imports because of security concerns in the Sinai or if the electrical lines from Egypt fail.”
Egypt temporarily halted fuel deliveries in July following a suicide bombing in the Sinai that left 26 Egyptian soldiers dead. Moreover, the electrical lines that feed power from Egypt to Gaza frequently malfunction.
Muhammad Azaizeh, a father of three and Gisha field researcher, said he’s felt the improvement in the availability of electricity, but emphasized that it was “minor.”
“There was an improvement, but it’s minor,” Azaizeh said. “We still don’t have electricity for much of the day. It is still difficult to live in a normal way.”