Public asked to scrimp on electricity use

Amid high temperatures danger of blackouts looms.

As temperatures surged on Saturday, the Israel Electric Corporation turned to the public with a request to minimize electricity use during peak hours – noon to 5 p.m. – starting on Sunday and continuing through the rest of the week.
The heat wave looks likely to stretch the IEC’s capabilities to the maximum. The utility company said demand was expected to reach 10,600- 10,800 MW and it had asked private producers to add another 200 MW to the 10,200 MW it could produce. Those numbers represent nearly total operating capacity – rendering a blackout sometime this week more likely. If even one generator malfunctions, steady electricity supply could be jeopardized, the company noted.
The IEC said it was keeping a very close eye on the weather and had prepared for high usage over the next several days.
Government officials have warning many times over the past few years that electricity reserves are dangerously low.
Israel maintains single digit reserves, as opposed to the 17- 25 percent considered necessary.
This is part of the reason the debate surrounding the plans for a new coal-fired power plant in Ashkelon is considered so urgent.
The utility asked the public not to use appliances such as dish washers, washing machines and dryers, vacuum cleaners, electric water heaters, ovens or electric burners between noon and 5 p.m.
Instead, people should plan ahead and use their appliances early in the morning or late at night when demand is much lower.
Air conditioners should be set to at least 25º Celsius, the IEC requested.