'Powerless' government is failing to avert an electricity crisis

Manufacturers Association blames Infrastructure Ministry for failure to achieve a 20 percent electricity reserve.

By SHARON WROBEL
December 4, 2006 00:35
1 minute read.
binyamin ben eliezer close up 298

binyamin ben eliezer. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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The Manufacturers Association of Israel on Sunday said Infrastructure Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer and his ministry were responsible for the lack of action, which has prevented the Israel Electric Corporation from attaining a 20 percent electricity reserve, as is the norm in the US and Europe. "The powerlessness of the National Infrastructures Ministry over the past few years, which has led to delays in the planning and construction of new power stations and delays in the activation of the power stations of the electricity company, has brought the Israeli electricity market into today's critical condition of minimal electricity reserves of 4 to 5 percent," said Shraga Brosh, President of the Manufacturers' Association. As a result of this situation, Brosh said any fault or problem occurring in peak hours of electricity demand or excessive burden due to usage of air conditioning, would have the electric system collapse similar to what took place with electricity cuts in June this year Brosh warned that if the infrastructure ministry policy of "sitting around and doing nothing" continued, the market and the manufacturing industry, which uses 23% of total electricity demand, would suffer from a shortage of electricity within one or two years. Thus Brosh urged Ben-Eliezer to move the issue of electricity reserves to the top of the ministry's agenda even before trying to endorse any structural changes within the Israel Electric Corp. in an effort avert an economic crisis - according to the Association's estimate, a collapse of the electric system because of a shortage or no electricity reserves could lead to damage that would cost industry up to NIS 1 billion. In addition, Brosh is demanding that Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson declare the development of power stations and the strengthening of the electricity market a national project and thereby shorten the bureaucratic steps, which represented a stumbling block responsible for the delays in the establishment of new power stations in recent years.

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