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Israel Electric Gets Zap from the Powers That Be

Israeli politicians feuding with the government-owned Israel Electric Corp. are generating more heat than light. But the utility, an easy target in an election year, is fighting back.

The latest round was touched off by power outages earlier this week. A leaky boiler at the Hadera generating plant forced a temporary reduction of wattage, in the middle of a heat wave. Customers who couldn’t use their air conditioners were irate.

The politicos seized on this to accuse the IEC of “lack of foresight,” and demanded the resignations of its top management. They also dredged up a 50-year-old issue, dating from the first hydroelectric plant built on the Jordan River by Pinhas Rutenberg.

It was agreed at the time that employees of what was then the Palestine Electric Corp. would receive free power. They still do, and the politicians accuse them of wasting electricity.

The utility retorts that if the “perk” were revoked, there would be havoc in a vital industry.

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