Days-long Blackout Cost Sharon Residents Over 50 Million Shekels

Municipalities suing Israel Electric Corp; Herzliya demands company pay 1,500 shekels to every household that was without power for over 24 hours.

Moti Milrod

A study conducted by Haaretz has shown that an exceptionally long blackout has cost Sharon-area communities tens of millions of shekels, as tens of thousands of people went without electricity for days. Calculations were made with data from Kfar Sava, Ra’anana, Herzliya, the South Sharon Regional Council and the Lev Hasharon Regional council.

Losses in Kfar Sava totaled 18 million shekels ($4.6 million), 20.5 million shekels in Ra’anana, 15 million in Herzliya, 16 million in the South Sharon Regional Council area, and five million in the Lev Hasharon Regional Council area. The losses, which total at over 50 million shekels for local residents, stem from damage to homes and cars due to the weather, loss of income and days at work and tons’ worth of unrefrigerated, rotten food thrown out. The figures also include the cost paid by municipalities to procure emergency equipment, as well as damage caused to industrial equipment, and the cost for the emergency personnel necessary for evacuating homes and providing temporary housing solutions.

Many homes in Kfar Sava were without power for three days. “It is an unprecedented amount for such a short period of time. Over 25 homes, parks, schools and businesses were without power,” read a statement from the Kfar Sava municipality.

Losses in Herzliya totaled 15 million shekels. Mayor Moshe Fadlon instructed his legal team to begin preparing a lawsuit against the Israel Electric Company to secure reparations for citizens, and is demanding that the company pay 1,500 shekels within 10 days to every household that was without power for over 24 hours.

South Sharon Regional Council officials sent a letter to the Interior Ministry yesterday asking for immediate aid. “Aside from heavy damage to agriculture, we measure the extent of damage to infrastructure, roads and sidewalks and schools to total between 15 and 16 million shekels,” read an excerpt from the letter signed by regional council head Dr. Motti Delgo. “These amounts, resulting from a natural disaster, are beyond the regional council’s ability to handle.”

Many farmers in the area suffered losses totaling millions of shekels, mostly due to greenhouses that collapsed. “At least 70 dunams of greenhouses collapsed in the Sharon area, totaling seven million shekels in losses to flower growers,” said Haim Hadad, head of the Flower Growers Organization.

This passing week’s rainfalls made October considerably wetter than the average in recent years, although they did not break any record, the Meteorological Service’s summary showed Thursday.

Two major rain storms occurred during the month. The first was October 6-9, when most of the rain fell in the Sharon area and the southern coastal plain. The second took place in the past week and while most of the rains fell in the coastal plain, a great deal also fell in the Negev.

The largest amount of rain on Thursday — 27 millimeters — was measured at the Meteorological Service’s monitoring station at Beit Dagan. The largest overall amount of rain this week fell in Shefayim — 148 millimeters — followed by Ra’anana with 112 millimeters. More than half of this amount fell in Ra’anana within an hour and caused severe flooding.

The monitoring station at Shefayim compared the all-time precipitation records during October, finding that this station had 219 millimeters of rain this month, equal to the amount measured in the Mikve Yisrael monitoring station in 2000.

The rains in the country’s dry areas were especially impressive. For example, some 42 millimeters were measured at the Gilgal Meteorological station in the Jordan Valley, and 31 in Yotvata in the southern Negev.

In Shefayim the rain in October is close to half the multiyear average for the whole winter. In Sodom the rain this month measured the same as that which usually falls there during the entire winter.

Today it may still rain but the showers will weaken and stop tomorrow and the country can expect clear, warmer weather.  No more rain is expected on Sunday and temperatures will continue to rise.