Despite Outages, Record High Power Use

Record high electricity use for winter as Israelis seek to stave off cold. 14,000 homes still without power.

Maayana Miskin ,

Israel news photo: Flash 90

This Sabbath saw Israel set a new record for weekend electricity use during the winter, the Israel Electric Company reported Sunday.

The total demand reached 10,700 megawatts, the highest ever for winter, but still under the record high for summer use, which stands at over 11,000 megawatts.

The new winter record was set despite the fact that an estimated 18,000 homes did not have electricity over the Sabbath. Heavy snow and fallen trees brought down power wires in several areas on Friday, particularly in and around Jerusalem.

Electric Company workers successfully restored power to most customers on Friday, but at least 14,000 homes remained without power as of mid-morning Sunday. Six thousand of the affected homes are in Jerusalem; most of the rest are in Judea and Samaria. Power outages have also been reported in northern Israel and on several streets in Be'er Sheva and Petach Tikva.

The company issued a warning Sunday to avoid downed power lines, and to report any downed lines immediately to the Electric Company (phone number: 103) or the police (100).

The company is seeking use of a helicopter in order to better locate breaks in the lines, particularly in the Gush Etzion and Binyamin regions to the south and north of Jerusalem.