Gaza’s sole power station shut down on Sunday morning after two days of electricity production, as Palestinian officials in Cairo sought to end a fuel shortage in the coastal strip.
Director of Gaza’s power company Walid Saad Sayil said the Palestinian Authority and Egypt were close to reaching a deal for six months fuel supply to the power plant from their southern neighbor.
But while the agreement was being hammered out, a delivery of Israeli fuel into Gaza on Friday ran out, closing the station for the fourth time since mid-February when Egypt stopped supplies via an underground tunnel network.
Hamas wants fuel purchased from Egypt to be delivered through its Rafah terminal — the only crossing into Gaza not under Israeli control.
Egypt says Rafah does not have the capacity for fuel pumping and re-fitting the crossing is restricted under international agreements.
Sayil said the PA was seeking to resume grants from the European Union to cover the cost of running Gaza’s power plant. The Palestinian Authority took over responsibility from the EU for delivering industrial diesel to the Gaza Energy Authority in late 2009.
The PA also contacted the Islamic Development Bank and other donors to fund installment of fuel and natural gas pipelines from Egypt to the Gaza Strip, Sayil said.
The power company’s director called on the Gaza government to instruct its officials for interfering with the company’s work collecting revenues for electricity.
PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad earlier called on the company to adhere to regulations for collecting electricity payments that increased revenues in northern Gaza from 30 percent in 2007, to 80 percent in 2011.
Meanwhile, total collection rates declared by the company remain as low as 20 to 30 percent, he said.