Gaza City, 17 Jumadil Akhir 1436/6 April 2015 (MINA)– The Gaza Strip electricity distribution company said Sunday that the Gaza Strip would return to the 8-hour program for electricity, in which power is supplied and cut off in 8-hour intervals.
Jamal al-Dardasawi, a spokesman for the company, told Ma’an that it has started to receive the first batches of electricity generated by the local generation station which returned to work Sunday evening.
Al-Dardasawi said the first 24 hours of the new schedule would be confusing, but the schedule would be balanced in all areas with a day, Ma’an News Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
The return to the program comes after the government’s decision to exempt the station of tax on fuel for three months.
The plant, Gaza’s sole power station, was to be supplied with fuel on Sunday after more than a month-long closure when the Gazan energy authority ran out of funding.
Nathmi Muhanna, PA director of border crossings in the Gaza Strip, said that 10 trucks carrying 400,000 liters of fuel would be passing though the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing on Sunday, and that a regular supply of fuel would be resumed during the week.
On Mar. 2, the Hamas-run energy authority closed the plant after they were unable to afford the taxes demanded by the PA for importing fuel into besieged Gaza.
In December last year, Qatar stepped in and donated $10 million to the PA to cover the tax, effectively exempting Hamas from paying it, but by March that money dried up.
The plant requires 550,000 liters of fuel per day to produce at capacity, the energy authority says.
Even with the plant running, Gaza has only been able to supply about 12 hours of electricity to residents each day, and that it was believed that would fall to just 6 hours after the plant’s shutdown.
Gaza’s energy authority has been plagued by supply problems due to the Israeli blockade, in place since 2007 and upheld by Egypt, as well as devastation caused by war.
Last summer the plant was targeted during the 50-day Israeli offensive on Gaza, completely knocking it out of commission. The Gaza power authority said at the time that the damages from the attack could take up to a year to fix completely.
Both Israel and Egypt also feed electricity into Gaza, but the extent of this supply is severely limited as part of the blockade.
Many individual homes have their own generators, and households can purchase, expensively, fuel that comes into Gaza for private consumption. (T/P010/R03)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)