After reporting a successful summer 2012 operation, the Public Utility Authority (PUA) will revive its electricity program that allows customers to save up to 20 percent on their electricity bills during the year’s hottest months.Last year, approximately 181,000 households participated in the program, in which each family committed to various levels of reduced electricity consumption and thereby received a discount of between 10 and 20% on their bills. While the program this year will be similar in principle, the PUA has changed the exact thresholds for electricity usage and corresponding monetary savings. Professional teams working on the program at the PUA decided to expand the upper and lower thresholds for participation this year.Customers who reduce their electricity consumption by between 10 and 20% during the summer months this year in comparison to last year will receive a 10% discount on their electricity bills for that period, the PUA said. Meanwhile, those who reduce their consumption by between 20 and 50% in comparison to last year will receive a 20% savings on their bills for the period. Last year, those who reduced their usage by 15 to 20% received 10% discounts, while those who reduced by 20 to 30% received 20% discounts.The PUA is prohibiting the Israel Electric Company (IEC) this summer from conducting meter reading estimations and instead will require the company to perform exact meter readings on every meter. Last summer, the company performed a statistical evaluation of electricity consumption instead of exact readings for 13% of the population – thereby preventing this population segment from participating in the program, the PUA said.Today, human meter readers still are physically tasked with visiting every electricity meter in Israel to take down consumption figures. In January, however, the PUA passed a resolution toward the future launch of a smart metering system that will allow for automated metering and transparent access for consumers. This changeover will involve an investment of NIS 2.9 billion, which will include the installation of 30,000 metering systems, 980,000 threephase electricity meters, 1.55 million one-phase electricity meters, 46,000 hubs and 2.5 million partially funded domestic monitors, the PUA said.Nonetheless, until this project begins at an unspecified future time, the IEC will continue sending out workers to read the country’s electricity meters so that consumers can pay their bills.The PUA is encouraging consumers to participate in the reduced consumption program this summer, as part of an overall effort to reduce domestic demand in light of the hot season’s expected electricity shortage.Like last year, the IEC has predicted that this summer’s electricity reserves will be critically low – dropping to between 1 and 3% until private power facilities come online.