Electricity reserves dip dangerously low

Technical glitches are causing blackouts, Israel Electric Corporation says, as heatwave sweeps through Israel.

July 13, 2012 01:31
2 minute read.
Electric lines [illustrative photo]

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


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In the wake of an ongoing heat wave, segments of the population experienced power outages on Thursday afternoon, as the Israel Electric Corporation’s online power meter dwindled down to a cautionary “orange.”

All through the afternoon on Thursday, the battery meter on the upper-left corner of the IEC’s website dropped to orange level, indicating that the “extent of the demand is almost reaching the electricity production limit and power outages are likely to occur,” according to the company.

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At roughly the same time, communities around the country complained of power failures, due to a glitch in the system of the Rotenberg Power Station in Ashkelon.

The day before, the IEC had warned that over the next week’s heatwave – in which the heat index is expected to reach 46 degrees Celsius around the country – forced power outages might have to occur intermittently. As temperatures surge, the company predicted that electricity demand would reach about 11,500 megawatts on some days, forcing planned blackouts to balance out the system. To help cope with the expected strain on the country’s electricity supply, the company asked the public to refrain from using appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, ovens, electric cookers and vacuum cleaners between 12 and 5 p.m., and recommended setting air conditioners above 25 degrees Celsius.

The power outages that occurred around the country due to the failure at the Rotenberg Power Station – which has a unit capacity of 575 megawatts – were not, however, due to planned blackouts but instead were the result of a technical glitch in the production system, the IEC stressed.

Within 25 minutes, power was restored to all places, the company said.

Representatives from the Energy and Water Ministry – minister Uzi Landau and director-general Shaul Zemach – and from the IEC – chairman Yiftach Ron-Tal and CEO Eli Glickman – held a press conference on Thursday morning in Tel Aviv to update the public on the IEC’s preparedness for dealing with the summer’s low power reserves.


At the meeting, the officials once again called upon the public to cooperate with the company’s request to reduce electricity demand during peak hours.

By about 5 p.m., the IEC’s online battery meter had risen back up from orange to green, indicating that the system could relax for the day.

While the color green indicates that electricity supply is steady and operating as normal, yellow shows that the extent of the demand is approaching the limit of electricity production capabilities – and that the IEC is acting to balance the system, according to the company.

Orange, the level of the battery throughout Thursday afternoon, is a much more serious condition and requires the company to update the public in advance of reaching that level.

Red, which was not reached on Thursday, indicates that the electricity demand is higher than the electricity production capability, and power shortages are occurring in different areas.

“At this stage cooperation of the public is required, in order to return the system to balance and stable activity,” IEC information says.

In addition to encouraging the public to conserve energy during this period of heatwave, the IEC reminded residents to check the company’s website and communicate with its representatives on its Facebook page about all problems as they occur.

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