Israel Electric company HQ 370.
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom pledged on Monday to launch a public
committee to overhaul the electricity sector.
“The situation of the
Israel Electric Corporation requires a thorough examination, so I will soon
announce the establishment of a public committee to reform the IEC and the
electricity sector in general,” Shalom said during a Knesset Finance Committee
He was addressing the committee at a review session of the
Energy and Water Ministry’s budget, during which he stressed that the ministry
has a relatively small budget.
Despite that, Shalom explained that the
ministry acts as a regulator for all of the energy and water infrastructure in
the country – from devices involved in a citizen’s everyday routine to natural
gas discoveries, desalination, power plants and sewage infrastructure. The
budget of the Energy and Water Ministry is NIS 216 million for 2013 and NIS
213m. for 2014.
“The Energy and Water Ministry is becoming a
leader in lowering the cost of living,” Shalom said. “Desalination costs a lot
and impacts the price of water. Yet amazingly, today Israel has no problem of a
lack of water. In a short time we will reach a water surplus, and this will
affect water prices in the future.”
Another segment of the energy and
water sector that will continue to boost the Israeli economy will be the
domestic transition to, as well as export of, natural gas, Shalom explained.
With an increased use of natural gas, the government is already saving about NIS
1 billion monthly, an amount that will jump to NIS 3b.
Meanwhile, tariffs for electricity and water will decrease due
to power and water facilities changing over to gas operation, Shalom
Turning back to the state of the IEC, Shalom stressed that the NIS
70b. debt of the company demands a thorough examination and overhaul of its
operations. The committee he plans to launch will conduct negotiations with the
company and employees, as well as work to implement its restructure, ensure
financial stability and create competition in the industry.
large amount Palestinians owe the IEC, Shalom said he and his colleagues are
“examining the possibilities for debt collection, despite the fact that debt
collection in the electricity sector from the Palestinians was not included in
the economic portion of the Oslo agreement.”
The debt is growing every
month and has grown to more than NIS 800m., he explained.
vice president of the Renewable Energy Association of Israel, emphasized the
importance of focusing on renewables to improve the economy.
generation from renewable energy is already economic and would be worthwhile for
the State of Israel,” Hermon said.