Netanyahu promises to tackle electricity rate hikes

Gov't to examine progressive differential electricity rate hikes and spreading them over a longer period of time.

By LILACH WEISSMAN / GLOBES
March 25, 2012 22:46
1 minute read.
Electric lines [illustrative photo]

Electricity lines 390. (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)

 
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Sunday instructed Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz and Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau to examine progressive differential electricity rate hikes and spreading them over a longer period of time.

The Public Utilities Authority (Electricity) approved an 8.9 percent rate hike on Thursday.

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Among the groups that might be entitled to cheaper electricity rates are large businesses that may either fire workers or raise prices due to higher electricity rates, institutions that care for the sick and elderly, and large families.

“After we dealt with the rise in apartment prices, and after we saw the initial results of this handling, which resulted in a drop in prices, we should tackle the rise in the price of electricity,” Netanyahu said at the start of Sunday’s meeting of Likud ministers ahead of the cabinet meeting. “The higher price of electricity is due to the sanctions against Iran, which has raised the price of oil.

This is not the result of a public dialogue on the sanctions, but a consequence of the sanctions.”

He did not mention the disruptions in natural-gas deliveries from Egypt to Israel Electric Corporation, which are the main reason for the electricity rate hike. The IEC wants a 30% rate hike, which the Public Utilities Authority had already decided to spread out over three years.

“The current rise in prices was supposed to be much more than 40%, due to the stoppages in natural-gas deliveries from Egypt,” Steinitz told the Likud ministers. “We decided to forgo NIS 1 billion in tax revenues to mitigate the price hike to just 9%. Gas deliveries from Tamar will begin in mid-2013, and the price will begin to fall.”

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