The electrical damage incurred by last week’s winter storm is liable to cost up NIS 1 billion ($290,000,000) to repair, CEO of the Israel Electric Corporation Eli Glickman announced Sunday in a meeting with the Knesset’s Economic Affairs Committee.
Approximately 60,000 households lost power during the storm, after strong winds and snow downed trees and collapsed electrical wires. Some 2,000 IEC employees worked to restore power during the four-day snowstorm.
Although the IEC conducts drills to improve preparedness for large-scale storms, “At the height of the storm, there were 60,000 customers without electricity and you cannot prepare a [electrical] center that can withstand that,” Glickman said.
Labor MK Avishay Braverman praised the IEC’s response to the storm and slammed the Israeli government for its inefficiency.
“We were convinced that the employees acted with determination to connect the electricity in areas that were disconnected,” Braverman said, following the briefing. The problem, according to Braverman, is that the government lacks a department that coordinates between the various bodies responsible for responding in a time of crisis.
To cover the damage costs, Glickman introduced a two-year company plan to minimize the debt. “In 2015, the electricity prices can be lowered, because [by then] we will have covered the loan guarantees to refund the debt. Lowering the tariff before 2015 will put the company in a [financial] crisis,” Glickman explained.