PUA warns ‘green power’ comes at a price

Public Utilities Authority is laying is increasing transparency for consumers – and showing them the price of green energy.

The electricity tower outside the Garden of Gethsemane 370 (photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
The electricity tower outside the Garden of Gethsemane 370
(photo credit: MELANIE LIDMAN)
In preparation for an expected influx of privately produced power onto the electricity grid in 2013, the Public Utilities Authority is laying out a series of steps to increase transparency for consumers – and show them the price of green energy.
In the coming months, the two-and-a-half million electricity customers in Israel will start seeing an itemized line on their electric bills, showing what portion of their electricity came from green energy, and at what price.
Since the cost of green energy is so much higher than conventional energy, that price may be uncomfortably high.
According to the PUA, customers can expect clean energy costs to add 4.4 percent to electricity prices in the coming year. This increase would grow to 11.8% by the end of the decade.
In the coming years, the PUA expects some 3,000 megawatts to come from private sources, which will be independent of the monopolistic Israel Electric Corporation. The PUA also noted that recent cuts it made to production quotas saved NIS 6 billion over 20 years, equaling about a 1.5% drop in prices.
Eitan Parnass, the director of the Renewable Energy Association of Israel, welcomed the announcement, but disputed the costs.
“The authority’s calculations are wrong, because you cannot know the cost of electricity production in Israel in the coming years,” he said, adding that the calculations were based on assumptions.
He also highlighted the environmental and health benefits Israel’s population would accrue from cleanly produced energy.
The PUA has also been rolling out a system to allow individuals to produce their own green energy, and even earn money by “selling” electricity back into the system. In December, it approved a “net meter” system to tally out the price differences for such homes.
If consumers are really worried about rising prices, they have all the more incentive to set up their own renewable energy mechanisms, and lop off those extra shekels from their bills.