Gaza’s third generator to resume operations

The headquarters of the main electricity company in Gaza Strip, shortly after being hit by an Israeli missile during an air strike over the city on June 28, 2006 [MaanImages/Wesam Saleh]

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — The Gaza Energy Authority announced Wednesday that the power station’s third generator would resume operations as of 2 p.m.

Since 2007, Israel’s closure of the Gaza Strip has led to severely restricted fuel supply, causing power shortages. Restrictions on the import of equipment saw the power station’s four generators reduced to three, only two of which have been working since 2009.

A plant official said a strategic reserve had been tapped, in order to provide the necessary fuel for the third generator, but cited a lack of funds to purchase fuel for the regular operations.

In 2011, the restricted Israeli supply was supplemented by fuel smuggled in through the underground tunnels connecting Egypt and Gaza, used in electricity generation for the first time after a local engineer developed a refining process. The engineer was later abducted by Israeli intelligence agents during a trip to the Ukraine.

Kanan Obeid, president of the Energy Authority, decided to re-launch a near-capacity generation schedule in time for high school students to study for their final exams, set for June 15. The set of tests, known locally as the Tawjihi, determine which programs at Palestinian universities students can apply to.

In 2010, the top Gaza student studied by candlelight, as rolling blackouts lasted up to 12 hours per day.

Obeid called on residents of the coastal enclave to do their best to reduce energy consumption, and particularly the use of air conditioning as the summer heat kicks in. As more residents pay their electricity bills, he added, funds can be freed to import more fuel.

Before the third generator began operating, Gaza residents had eight hours of rolling blackouts a day.


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