Electricity supply sold to Gaza by Israel has been reduced; Gaza’s power plant is operating on fuel from Egypt

Power lines in Gaza. Photo by Gisha

June 28, 2017. Gaza’s sole power plant has resumed partial operations, but the electricity crisis is far from ending. Electricity is supplied to residents in cycles of between four and six hours of power, followed by 12 hours of cuts.

Last Monday, June 19, Israel began implementing the cabinet’s decision to reduce the supply of electricity sold to the Strip (which had been 120 megawatts, up until then). Currently, only 80 megawatts are being sold and supplied to the Strip by Israel. Due to apparent technical malfunctions, the supply of electricity from Egypt is not at full capacity (28 megawatts), standing at 23 megawatts as of today.

Following the enactment of the cabinet’s decision, Gisha sent urgent Freedom of Information requests to the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Defense, and the Israel Electric Corporation requesting information on the decision to reduce electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, its implementation, and the measures taken to avert a humanitarian crisis in the Strip.

Last week, diesel for Gaza’s power plant, which had been out of commission since mid-April, entered Gaza from Egypt via Rafah Crossing. Two of the plant’s turbines began operating, supplying 45 megawatts. It is unclear if this arrangement is sustainable, or how long it will last. Residents of Gaza currently receive between four and six hours of electricity, followed by 12-hour power cuts. The total electricity currently available to the Strip from all three sources – Israel, Egypt, and Gaza’s power plant – stands at 148 megawatts, roughly a third of the required amount.

Even prior to the latest developments in the current crisis in Gaza, demand for electricity was 450 megawatts, almost double the overall power produced and supplied to Gaza in total. This allowed for cycles of eight hours of power, followed by eight hours without; leaving Gaza constantly teetering on the verge of the next electricity crisis, and severely limiting the improvement of infrastructure needed for economic growth in the Strip. The dire state of Gaza’s infrastructure necessitates a comprehensive, sustainable, and long-term solution.