Gaza officials have warned that if no fuel is received, the Gaza Strip’s only power plant will have to be shut down on Friday night.
The plant had already stopped services to all but 30-40 percent of the coastal strip by nightfall on Thursday, the Gaza Energy Authority said, adding that the sudden cold front in the region used up the remaining fuel faster than expected.
According to Palestinian liaison officer Raed Fattouh, on Thursday, the Israeli authorities stopped fuel trucks from entering the fuel crossing at Kerem Shalom in southern Gaza.
The fuel for the plant is purchased from and delivered by Israel via their own trucks.
The plant has four generators, but only one is being used due to lack of fuel. This generator supplies electricity to the population of Gaza for 16 hours a day.
A European Union contract paying for fuel shipments expired on November 30, 2009, according to Kan’an Obeid, the deputy manager of the Energy Authority in the Gaza Strip.
While the EU had been providing the service after the contract expired, EU officials recently notified the Gaza Energy Authority that they would no longer pay for the fuel shipments unless the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah drafted a new agreement and payment scheme.