Israel’s Electricity Authority said on Monday that power rates would go up by just 2.9% in January, less than half the increase originally ordered, after Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon intervened.
The authority’s announcement three weeks ago that rates would go up by 6% next month — a figure it subsequently revised to 7.3% — sparked protests and intense efforts by the Finance Ministry to moderate the rise.
The authority said most of the savings, some 715 million shekels ($190 million) that would enable the smaller rate rise, was due to a decision by the treasury to delay imposing an additional excise tax on coal used at power plants to the year 2021. But if approvals for the delay aren’t completed by February, rates will rise 5.7%, it warned.
Another factor is a 465 million shekel settlement over price-fixing shares with a group of European companies led by Siemens to be paid to Israel Electric Corporation. The authority didn’t detail a source of savings, but said it amounted to 326 million shekels.