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Gaza electricity lines disconnected, deepening energy crisis

Sept. 16, 2015 4:52 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 27, 2016 3:13 P.M.)
Palestinian school girls cross a bridge in the central Gaza Strip, as the silhouette of the Gaza Strip power plant is seen in the background. (AFP/Marco Longari, File)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- Two power lines providing electricity to the Gaza Strip were disconnected overnight Tuesday further fueling an ongoing energy crisis in the beleaguered coastal enclave.

Gaza's energy authority said that the Jabalia line feeding northern Gaza off the Israeli electricity grid had failed due to a technical issue.

The authority said that another power line feeding the central Gaza Strip, line 7, had also failed. The two lines together provide roughly 24 MW.

For four days, the main power line from Egypt's electrical grid, which provides a total of 28 MW, has also been down.

Sources inside Gaza's energy authority said Wednesday that the total supply of energy was now covering only 30 percent of the population's minimum needs.

Even at full capacity, the Egyptian and Israeli electricity grids, together with Gaza's sole power plant, fail to cover the territory's energy needs.

They provide only 230 MW of electricity, while Gaza-based think tank Pal-Think has estimated Gaza's needs to fall between 350 and 450 MW.

In recent days, Gaza's power station has also been struggling to maintain its output due to both fuel shortages and lack of funds.

The coastal enclave has seen a series of large demonstrations protesting the energy crisis, with Gazans calling for the resignation of Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah's government.

Gaza's energy authority has blamed the power plant's low output on taxes imposed by the PA's petroleum authority.

An inability to cover these costs forced the power station to close for more than a month earlier this year, and it has not run at full capacity in years.

However, Israel's crippling blockade has also severely limited fuel imports into the coastal enclave.

War has also had taken its toll, and during Israel's 50-day offensive on Gaza last summer, the power plant was targeted completely knocking it out of commission.

Earlier this month, the UN warned that that the Gaza Strip could become uninhabitable for residents within just five years, pointing to the devastation of war and nearly a decade of Israel's blockade.

"The social, health and security-related ramifications of the high population density and overcrowding are among the factors that may render Gaza unlivable by 2020," the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) wrote in its annual report.
Comments
jay / summer
We must convey electricity utility.
17/09/2015 03:38
Outlier / USA
In the words of a local humorist, "Be kind to your neighbor - he knows where you live."
17/09/2015 05:18
The debt of WEST BANK to ISRAELI / ELECTRIC COMPANY IS HUGE
soon electricity will be curtailed until they start paying for their electricity
STOP LIVING LIKE LEACHES!
17/09/2015 10:51
@ Jay, Outlier, and Debts / USA
They owe a lot more than just dollars and shekels. And,
Until Palestinians start paying their peace negotiations debt,
their energy needs should not even be a consideration for Israel.
And, the same is true for other Palestinian needs: movement, jobs, hospitals, fuel, and even water, etc. !!
26/09/2015 15:49
Felixio / US
Pitiful the comments left in this article. This people should get real info to be able to comment.
10/01/2016 19:47
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