Environment Minister Gideon Ezra decided to shut down the Reading Power Plant in Tel Aviv until they made the transition from operating on crude oil to natural gas. The order was given on Monday and, barring any last-minute changes, was to go into effect starting Wednesday.
The National Infrastructure Ministry said they would try to prevent any real inconveniences in the company's power supply while making the transition. However, the change in the source of electrical power was expected to cause power outages.
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The plant has been obligated for half a year to make the transition to natural gas. On Monday, both the gas and electric companies claimed to be prepared for the change, but accused each other for the delay, Army Radio reported.
The electric company planned on meeting National Infrastructure Minister Roni Baron in the next few days to discuss the ramifications of the move. They said they would honor the minister's decisions.
The environmentalist group Man, Nature, and Law claimed that crude oil was one of the most polluting power supplies and was responsible for approximately 25% of the air pollution in the Tel Aviv area.
"Clearly, it is the right thing to do economically, and it benefits the lungs of anyone breathing the air near the station," said the organization's director-general Tzipi Issar-Itzik to Army Radio.
Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai urged the electric company to hasten the change. "It will both cost less, and produce cleaner air," he said in an interview to Army Radio on Tuesday morning.