President of the Palestinian Energy Authority Omar Kittaneh and Accountant General of the Palestinian Authority Yousef al-Zamer Saturday headed to Egypt to discuss ways to reach a permanent arrangement to supply fuel to the only power plant in Gaza, Voice of Palestine radio reported.
Zamer and Kittaneh, upon instructions from Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, will meet Egyptian officials in Cairo to agree on a mechanism to provide stable fuel supplies to the power plant and make arrangements for making the payment.
Kittaneh told Voice of Palestine that due to the PA’s acute financial crisis, it no longer can afford to cover 70% of Gaza’s electricity bill, especially as the electricity company does not collect the remaining 30% from its customers.
Fayyad told the press on Saturday that the PA used to pay more than $13 million in electricity cost to Gaza every month, while the electricity company collects less than 30% of the overall bill.
He called on the electricity company to collect bills from the beneficiaries who are capable of paying for the service they get so that it will cover the cost of the fuel it uses.
According to Saed Sayel, CEO of the Gaza Electricity Company, which runs the power generator, the reason his company is not paying the bill is because Hamas, which rules Gaza, intervenes in the company finances and insists instead on getting the fuel through the smuggling tunnels that run under the borders between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.
Fayyad called on Hamas movement not to put obstacles in the electricity company’s process of collecting the bills in the Strip and not to make favors for certain people who can afford to pay their electricity bills.
Around 450,000 liters of Israeli diesel entered the Gaza Strip through the Israeli Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing point on Friday to supply its power plant after arrangements between PA, the Egyptian government and Israel. The fuel shipment is enough for one day.