GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip, (AP) — Israel opened a crossing with the Gaza Strip on Sunday to let in fuel shipments, but a major Gaza power company said it was shutting off the last of its generators because fuel to power them hadn’t started flowing through.
The Gaza Generating Co., which powers 25 percent of the coastal strip, shut off three of its four generators Friday after Israel closed the Nahal Oz fuel crossing, citing security threats it would not detail. The shutoff plunged the homes of about 600,000 Gazans into darkness, until Israel and Egyptian companies that power the rest of the strip supplied affected homes with several hours of electricity over the weekend.
On Sunday, Gaza Generating announced that it would shut off the fourth generator because fuel reserves had been depleted, meaning the power outage would affect a great number of homes. Although gas stations were receiving fuel, the company said it didn’t receive the special fuel needed to operate its generators.
The Israeli fuel supplier, Dor Alon, wasn’t immediately available for comment. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the problem originated there, or was linked to tensions between the rival Palestinian governments in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Gaza Generating chief executive Rafik Malikha warned that the generators could be damaged by the shutdown, and urged all relevant officials “to end this crisis situation in Gaza now.”
Although Israeli and Egyptian power companies have stepped into the breach, affected neighborhoods and cities will be without electricity at least 12 hours a day, Malikha said.
The Israeli army said the crossing would be open for most of the day after the earlier security threat diminished. The Gaza fuel authority said about one-quarter of the ordinary daily fuel supply had been shipped through pipelines on Sunday.
Gazans were largely unfazed by the power outage, because power reserves are so thin to begin with across the strip that consumers are accustomed to living without electricity for about five hours a day.