A panel of experts appointed by the Energy Ministry began an investigation today into the massive power failure that blacked out most of Israel for six hours yesterday. The body is headed by Haifa Technician professor of electrical engineering Michael Erlitzki who headed an inquiry into a similar power failure last October.
The breakdown occurred in mid-afternoon and power was not fully restored until 9 p.m. local time. The country, from Mt. Hermon on the Golan Heights to Eilat was without electricity, resulting in traffic chaos when stoplights ceased functioning. Factories came to a sudden standstill. Scores of people were stuck in elevators and had to be rescued by fire departments.
The blackout was attributed to a short circuit at the Caesarea power station which tripped safety devices shutting down turbine generators all over the country. They could not be reactivated until the source of the short circuit was located.
Erlitzki’s panel will try to determine why the short circuit was caused. He recalled today that the committee he chaired after the October blackout recommended that the Israel Electric Corp. replace worn out equipment. New equipment was ordered abroad but it will not be ready for another year.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.