The executive manager of the Palestine Electricity Company and the chairman of Gaza’s power station has called upon the international Quartet to find a radical solution for the problem of power cuts in the Gaza Strip. These occur often due to the frequent closures of the only power station in the territory because of a lack of fuel.
In a press statement, Engineer Walid Saad Elsayel demanded that the Quartet and its envoy Tony Blair find the funding necessary to provide the fuel needed by the power station to guarantee its operation around the clock at full capacity. He asserted that the company backs the idea of using Egyptian gas to run the station, which would be more economic and more environmentally-friendly compared with the industrial diesel currently used.
Elsayel requested the international community, the United Nations and human rights organizations to intervene immediately and put pressure on the European Union to resume its payments that covered the cost of the power station’s fuel until last November. He also asked for pressure to be put on Israel to let vital materials into the Gaza Strip to minimise the effects of this humanitarian catastrophe.
The management of the power station announced recently that it had closed down one of its generators due to the lack of fuel. Its statement said, “The amount of fuel remaining is enough for running one generator, although the power station is capable of operating at full production capacity if the fuel is available.”
According to Walid Elsayel, the plant’s capacity has fallen to 30 MG, which means that Gaza’s governorates will suffer from power cuts, as there will be a 50% deficit in the amount of electricity produced. “The production of the power station has decreased by 50%, and the station now operates with one generator. It will stop completely if the occupation authorities don’t allow us to import sufficient industrial diesel for the plant to continue its operations.”
Elsayel spoke about the difficult living conditions that the people of Gaza endure as a result of the power cuts. He warned that this could lead to a crisis of no less severity than that which resulted when the territory’s power plant was bombed by Israel in June 2006.