Electricity Rates May Go Up in Wake of Storm

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israelis who paid a steep price for governmental unpreparedness during last week’s storm and its aftermath, may be paying yet again when the costs of the storm to Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) are fully assessed.

The financial damage caused to the utility could amount to as much as 1 billion shekels. If it does, and the cost is passed on to the consumer, it would mean a rise in electricity tariffs by 5% for one year, Globes reported on Sunday.

During a session of the Knesset Economics Committee, IEC CEO Eli Glickman said that direct and indirect damage was definitely in the hundreds of millions of shekels and the final amount could “reach as high as NIS 1 billion.”

It is likely that the IEC will turn to the Public Utilities Authority to ask for full compensation for the damage.

The main damage to the IEC was from trees falling during the snow storms, collapsing under the weight of the snow onto the utility’s high-tension cables.

At the same time, the public learned that transport fares will rise 4.7% on January 1 as part of the bi-annual price increase, Globes said.

The increase was based on a 2% VAT increase since October 2011 and a 3.68% rise in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) between October 2011 and October 2013.

According to a government decision in 1997, fares on buses and trains are adjusted twice yearly on January 1 and July 1 according to the rise in the CPI and VAT. Increases are calculated according to price changes in the previous two years.