Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cold and Not Rainy

The country is in the middle (or hopefully towards the end of a cold spell that has left at least four people dead from hypothermia, Israel Electric reported this week that demand for electricity hit an all-time winter high of 10,024 megawatts this week, representing 94% of its potential generating capacity.

Temperatures are getting as low as 0°C and with the windchill factor reaching -5°C during the evenings making air conditioners and other electric appliances work overtime. With electricity generation so close to its maximum there are fears that there may be a need to initiate rolling blackouts to prevent the power system from shutting down.

The last time there were blackouts was in June 206 when the electric company was caught off-guard by an early wave of extremely hot weather. Then it was necessary initiate a series of intentional blackouts to protect the power system from shutting down due to a spike in demand and insufficient capacity.

Newspaper reports contain a campaign by the Electricity company to provide our consumers with tips on how to save energy, and there are television commercials, radio advertisements and with pieces of advice included in monthly electricity bills," she said.

Included among tips is the recommendation to not set home thermostats above 20 degrees Celsius, as every degree higher forces the unit to work 5 percent harder.

The previous high for electricity demand in the winter came two years ago, peaking at 9,450 MW. The all-time high demand, winter and summer, was set this past July, topping 10,070 MW.

Further, a campaign among the country's manufacturers has been initiated to encourage them to cut down on energy usage during peak hours in exchange for reduced rates during the rest of the year.

Brrrr!! At least the forecast for the next few days is a warming trend. But where oh where is the rain? Nothing of significance in the last two weeks and it is already the middle of January. The Sea of Galilee is still as of today only 47 cm above the red line and 3.73 metres below the upper limit. There is going to be fun this summer!!

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