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Gaza power plant to cease operations


February 4, 2010 - The Gaza Strip's sole power plant will cease all operations late Friday night due to a lack of fuel, officials warned. The plant had already shut down services to all but 30-40 percent of the coastal strip by nightfall on Thursday, the Gaza Energy Authority said, noting that the sudden cold front in the region spent the remaining fuel faster than expected. The Energy Authority has notified mayors and municipalities across Gaza, and was informing the Health Ministry and major telecommunications companies PalTel and Jawwal to prepare for the worst...



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Gaza power plant to cease operations

Ma'an News

February 4, 2010

Gaza ľ Ma'an ľ The Gaza Strip's sole power plant will cease all operations late Friday night due to a lack of fuel, officials warned.

The plant had already shut down services to all but 30-40 percent of the coastal strip by nightfall on Thursday, the Gaza Energy Authority said, noting that the sudden cold front in the region spent the remaining fuel faster than expected.

The Energy Authority has notified mayors and municipalities across Gaza, and was informing the Health Ministry and major telecommunications companies PalTel and Jawwal to prepare for the worst.

"People are trying to stock up on fuel to operate private generators for the buildings and institutions that have them," according to Emad Eid, the director of Ma'an's Gaza City bureau. He said that while Gazans are used to these blackouts, most generators in private homes are too weak to produce enough electricity for heating, and are used predominately for simple needs like charging mobile phones.

Eid also noted the unfortunate timing of the shutdown, accompanying a sharp drop in temperatures across the occupied territories and Israel. "It's already freezing here, and it's only going to get worse," he said.

Israeli authorities allowed no fuel through the fuel crossing at Karni on Thursday, according to Palestinian liaison officer Raed Fattouh, and the incidental amounts of cooking gas and diesel that were transfered through Kerem Shalom were not even expected to keep the power plant running for even another day.

The plant has four generators, and while all are functional, only one is being used. This generator supplies electricity to the population of Gaza for 16 hours a day because there is not enough fuel to power all four.

The fuel for the plant is purchased from and delivered by Israel, via trucks through the Kerem Shalom crossing in southern Gaza. The majority of fuel used for personal use is smuggled from Egypt through the tunnel matrix, and fills private generators in homes. The power plant, however, can only use Israeli industrial grade diesel.

An EU contract paying for fuel shipments expired on 30 November 2009, according to Kan'an Obeid, deputy manager of the Energy Authority in the coastal enclave. While the EU had been providing the service after the contract expired, officials notified the authority that they would no longer pay for the fuel shipments unless the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah drafted a new agreement and payment scheme.





:: Article nr. 62942 sent on 05-feb-2010 04:54 ECT

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