Ministers to push electric reform as talks fail

Hirchson and Ben Eliezer give the IEC an extra half a year to acheive agrrement between the finance ministry and IEC employees.

electricity 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
electricity 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Finance Minister Avraham Hirchson and Minister for National Infrastructures, Binyamin (Fuad) Ben Eliezer will push ahead with their proposal for the implementation of the reform of the state-owned Israel Electric Corporation after months of negotiations between the government and the workers' representatives of the IEC failed. Under the proposal, which will be presented to the cabinet for approval on Sunday, the operating licenses of the IEC, which are due to expire in March, will be renewed for an initial period of four months with the possibility of an extension of two months. The renewal period will serve as another attempt by the government to come to agreements with the workers' representatives. Last week, IEC Chairman Moshe Gavish warned at a conference that if the operating licenses of the company would not be renewed by March 3 and agreements on the reform would be reached, Israel could be "left in the dark" due to the expiration date of the company's operating license. As propose, the IEC will be transformed into a holding company that will consist of production, conduction and distribution companies. The production segment will be bundled into four subsidiaries in January 2008 and is expected to start operating in January 2009. The conduction company will be established as a subsidiary of the holding company until the end of 2009 and will operate from the end of 2010. During the one-year period, the ministers will decide whether the company will remain a subsidiary of the holding company or transformed into a separate company owned by the government. For the distribution segment, four to five subsidiary companies will be established on a regional basis, by January 2009, similar to the regional divisions operating today. The companies will start operating from January 2010. Additional subsidiary companies will be set up for the planning and establishment of power stations and logistics by January 2009, which are expected to start operating in January 2010. The plan calls for the sell-off of 49 percent of all the subsidiaries by mid-2013 and the involvement of the private energy market.