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Rolling blackouts resume in Gaza

Oct. 22, 2010 9:50 A.M. (Updated: Oct. 23, 2010 1:07 P.M.)
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- One of the generators in Gaza's sole power plant will stop running Friday as it has run out of fuel, a Gaza Electricity Company spokesman said.

Jamal Ad-Dardasawi said efforts to open Kerem Shalom crossing for the entry of fuel had failed. Israeli authorities informed Gaza crossings official Raed Fattouh that both Kerem Shalom and the Karni crossing would be closed on Friday and Saturday, and reopen Sunday.

Due to the closure, scheduled blackouts would resume in the Strip, Ad-Dardasawi said. Power would be provided for eight hours, followed by an eight-hour blackout.

The spokesman said operating two generators produced 60 mega watts of electricity, but the shut down of one of the generators would escalate the power crisis in the coastal enclave.

The second generator resumed operation in early October, following intense efforts to increase the energy authority's revenue, which involved deducting money from the salaries of employed Gaza residents. Scheduled power cuts were reduced to 16 hours across four days.

The power crisis has plagued Gaza since December, when the Palestinian Authority took over responsibility from the European Union for delivering industrial diesel to the Gaza Energy Authority.

During an extensive blackout in August, when the power station shut down due to lack of fuel, hospitals declared a state of emergency as life-saving equipment was left reliant on generators.

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