Electricity Market to Open to Competition

YERUSHALAYIM -
An Israel Electricity Company worker performing maintenance on a utility pole. (Flash 90)

Final regulations on the opening of the electricity market in Israel are being developed, and a pilot program is set to begin in 2020 that will allow Israelis to buy electricity from providers other than the Israel Electric Company. The pilot program will enable up to 40,000 families to choose a private electricity provider, and if successful, the program will be opened to the general public to choose their own electricity provider.

There are currently ten electricity providers in Israel other than the IEC, but it is the only legal provider of power under current regulations. The new regulations are intended to open up the electricity market to competition, with the intention of lowering prices. According to the Energy and Finance Ministries, the average family will be able to save about 10% on power costs. According to the Energy Ministry, the average Israeli household uses 8,000 kilowatt hours of electricity per year, for which it pays NIS 4,560.

For the program to work, consumers are going to have acquire digital electric meters, to allow electricity providers to read meters from off-premises. The meters cost about $70 each, officials said. Currently, there are 36,000 private households with such meters, along with 15,000 offices and factories, and they are likely to be the first ones offered an opportunity to participate in the pilot program, officials said.