20/20 electricity savings program launched

A new program will offer a 20 percent discount for cutting electricity usage by 20% during peak hours during August and September. The National Infrastructures Ministry, the Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) and the Public Utilities Authority (PUA) announced the program late Monday, which is designed to help reduce the strain on the country's generators. Reserves are running very low this summer making blackouts a possibility. The final elements of the plan are still being worked out, including who will be eligible to participate. The 20 percent reduction will be measured against electricity usage the previous year during the same time period. The two month program will act as a pilot for a larger program through the winter which could include households as well. Similar programs were instituted in California in 2001 and in New Zealand in 2001 and 2003. In California, the program brought about a reduction in usage of between four to eight percent, according to the three initiators.