The electricity tower outside the Garden of Gethsemane 370.
(photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
Residents of Yesud Hama’ala, a moshav north of Lake Kinneret (the Sea of
Galilee), fear the repercussions of an eight-hour, community-wide cessation of
power scheduled to occur on Monday during peak hours of summer heat.
every few months, Israel Electric Corporation has been cutting the electricity
it supplies to the moshav for about six to eight hours, to fix electrical system
problems there, a statement from the community said. The most recent
scheduled power outage lasted six hours on May 29.
Among the 3,000
residents of the moshav are many elderly people on oxygen tanks and dialysis
machines that require electricity, as well as many children who will suffer from
extreme heat, according to the community. The forecast for Monday is
36-degrees Celsius, and staying inside confined buildings without air
conditioning will be problematic, the statement said.
face difficulties tolerating such heat, the Education Ministry did not agree to
close down summer camps for the day, and children will attend camps despite the
lack of power supply, the moshav said. Due to the electricity outages, however,
the children will not be able to swim in the community’s pools, and camp
counselors therefore requested water sprinklers from the local authority to keep
the children mildly cool, according to the community.
owners have been forced to close during the power outage days, giving employees
time off and receiving no compensation for the resultant damages, the statement
said. The packing and cooling factories will in particular suffer damage on
Monday, as it is the height of the summer fruit-picking season and business
owners cannot afford the high cost of bringing in generators to operate their
Despite many attempts to convince IEC to provide the moshav with
generators – or any other type of technical assistance – to prevent the
cessation of power for so many hours in a time period that is known to be hot,
the company only agreed to provide generators to two community centers, the
moshav said. This still does not provide a solution for elderly, immobile
residents who have no one to care for them and cannot make it to the two
centers, community members argued.
Some residents are calling for the
privatization of IEC, while other have sent an official complaint to the State
Comptroller’s Office. Still others claimed that IEC’s actions constitute
“blatant discrimination [against] residents of the periphery, without a desire
or willingness of the IEC, a government company, to find a fitting and
appropriate answer for the residents for the duration of 8 hours – in the peak
of heat, summer vacation of children and for the health of the elderly in the
moshav.” During system upgrades in the country’s center, never have power
supplies been cut for such an extended period of time, the residents
In response, IEC said it intends to make large-scale system
upgrades to the region’s electrical system on Monday. Such work, the
company said, serves to enhance and ensure the reliability of the power supply
to customers. The purpose of Monday’s work is to upgrade the system in
both Yesud and the surrounding region, according to IEC.
“In order to not
disrupt the lives of residents over many days, the company coordinated a
reinforced work crew to perform the work in one day,” a company statement
IEC stressed that the residents have known about the upcoming
blackout for five weeks, extensive notices have been published throughout the
region and in the last two weeks, updates have occurred over loudspeakers and
direct notices throughout the community. In addition, the company has
worked in coordination with the local council to find alternatives solutions for
the day, including the allocation of two generators by the council to the
hospital and a kindergarten, as well as another generator donated by a local
shopping center, the statement said.
Residents who require life support,
dialysis and other medical treatments must rely on alternative power supplies
like generators and batteries, which they would also have to do in the case of
even a one-hour, unexpected power outage, according to the company.
apologizes for the inconvenience and will do everything possible to finish the
job as soon as possible and return the power supply to its customers,” the