A Turkish delegation of top energy officials arrived in the Israel-blockaded Gaza Strip yesterday to discuss solutions for a decade-long electricity crisis in the Palestinian territory. Turkey has already supplied 15 tons of fuel for the operation of Gaza's sole power plant last month.
The four-strong delegation crossed into Gaza via the Erez crossing for talks with their Palestinian counterparts, Ghazi Hamad, Gaza's foreign ministry undersecretary, said.
"The delegation will discuss solutions and necessary mechanisms for fulfilling Gaza's energy needs," he told Anadolu Agency.
On Sunday, a Turkish technical delegation held talks with Palestinian energy officials to discuss ways of solving Gaza's power crisis.
"The delegation's visit is part of Turkey's efforts to provide solutions for the energy crisis in the Palestinian territory," Ahmed Abu al-Amreen, spokesman for the Gaza Energy Authority, said. Al-Amreen told reporters after a meeting yesterday that the visit proved "constructive and beneficial" and they discussed the expansion of power supplies through Israel and cooperation in solar power projects.
Gaza - which needs 400 megawatts of electricity - continues to suffer from a severe power crisis that has forced local authorities to adopt a rotation system, cutting power from some areas in order to supply electricity to other areas.
Israel provides 120 megawatts of electricity to the Gaza Strip, while Egypt provides 32 megawatts. Gaza's power plant provides only 60 megawatts, according to the Palestinian Energy Authority figures.
The 2 million residents of Gaza require around 450-500 megawatts of power per day but are receiving less than half of that. With cold winters, demand has spiked - leading to the shortages.
Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, blamed the recent tax rise by the Palestinian Authority (PA), the internationally recognized leadership that runs the West Bank, for the crisis. The PA imposes 90 percent tax on all fuel types sold in the local market in Gaza and the West Bank.
Israel has maintained a blockade of the enclave for the past 10 years, limiting the entry of goods and crippling the economy.
In 2015, Gaza's power plant, which was badly damaged in a 2006 Israeli attack, was shut down for several weeks over unpaid taxes.
Energy authorities also complain of little funding, mostly due to unpaid bills.
Nearly 70 percent of households do not pay their electricity bills, either because of poverty or due to lack of collection, the United Nations estimates.
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