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Electric shock: Power authority says prices to rise 10% starting August

National regulator says Israel relatively cushioned from global energy crisis by local natural gas, but war in Ukraine hampering coal supplies

The Reading Power Station and the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv on January 27, 2020. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90/File)
The Reading Power Station and the Yarkon River in Tel Aviv on January 27, 2020. (Gershon Elinson/Flash90/File)

Israelis already struggling to deal with rising costs and runaway inflation will take another blow to the wallet soon, after the Electricity Authority announced Monday that power prices will rise by nearly 10 percent next month.

The authority blamed the price hike on the global energy crisis, which began in 2021, and has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. It includes a dramatic rise in the cost of hydrocarbons needed for power plants, despite the fact that Israel now extracts its own natural gas for export.

The 9.6% price rise, set to go into effect as of August 1, must still win final approval, expected sometime in the next two weeks, according to the Israel Hayom daily.

Consumers will pay 49.54 agorot per kilowatt-hour, if the hike goes into effect, a modest rise, relative to those experienced in other countries, thanks to Israel’s locally produced natural gas, the authority’s statement said.

However, a price hike was necessary, as approximately 23% of Israel’s power output still relies on coal, the statement said. Russia is a leading global exporter.

While inflation in Israel has been more modest than some other places, it has seen steep jumps in the cost of everything, from food to building materials. The country is also struggling to rein in rocketing real estate prices.

Illustrative. Refueling a car at a gas station, in Jerusalem, on March 11, 2022. (Jamal Awad/Flash90/File)

Two weeks ago, the country’s fuel prices leaped to NIS 8 ($2.30) per liter after floating under the peak for the past few months.

The cost of dairy products under government price controls increased by 4.9% two weeks ago, and the average for price-controlled eggs increased by 6.5% on Friday, the first time since January 2019 that the price went up.

The persistent hikes led a crowd of 2,500 Israelis to demonstrate at Habima Square in Tel Aviv over a week ago, to vent their frustrations against the high cost of living and soaring housing prices.

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