Electric tower at night
Electric tower at night iStock

Hundreds of religious Zionist and haredi families living in several Jerusalem neighborhoods suffered electrical outages on Friday, lasting several hours into the start of Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath), Kikar Hashabbat reported.

Many of the families - who are concentrated in the neighborhoods of Ramot, Geula, Kiryat Moshe, Meah She'arim, and Bar Ilan - have young children,and others who are elderly and infirm - and were forced to spend Shabbat in a cold, dark, apartment with no way to heat it.

One woman who lives in Ramot B told Kikar Hashabbat that their neighborhood's electricity was cut off on Friday afternoon at 3:00p.m., about one-and-a-half hours before Shabbat started, and that they were forced to take their food to the neighbors, who still had partial electricity. According to her, the electricity for many in Ramot A and B only turned back on at 4:00a.m. on Saturday morning.

A man who lives in Geula told Kikar Hashabbat that his electricity went out at 1:00p.m. on Friday, and "the entire family was left with no electricity throughout all of Shabbat." According to him, many others in his neighborhood also had no electricity throughout Shabbat, while in other neighborhoods dozens of residents had already had their electricity cut off on Thursday.

An elderly woman in Kiryat Moshe described shivering with cold and having only cold food to eat on Friday night as the electricity stopped at 2 p.m. on Friday. Yeshivas and synagogues in Kiryat Moshe were dark. This is the second Friday night without electricity in the neighborhood, the previous one occurring on a rainy Shabbat two weeks ago.

Israel Electric Corporation responded: "Electric Corporation employees are working in increased numbers to fix the disturbances to the electricity supply which were caused by the cold weather. This is an unusual event which does not in any way characterize the quality of service in Jerusalem. Proof of this is that even those complaining said that they do not remember such a situation in the past."

"The circumstances, foremost among them the cold wave which has continued for two weeks already, unusual cold the likes of which we have not seen in 32 years, have broken all-time records for electricity usage twice in one week, and changed consumption habits.

"At this time, we are working to return electricity to the haredi towns which we had no access to due to Shabbat. Obviously, the Electric Corporation will analyze all of the events and in accordance with that, provide solutions. At this time Corporation staff are working in the religious and haredi neighborhoods to fix the damage."