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Gaza power station low on fuel

Gaza Ma`an The power station in the Gaza Strip will be forced to shut down Friday due to lack of fuel, officials said late Thursday.

Generators at the station, the only one in Gaza, are operating at 40 percent capacity, energy authority engineer Kanan Obeid said.

Obeid told Ma`an that the Palestinian Authority Finance Ministry in Ramallah was chiefly responsible for the expected shortfall.

The accusation was the second this week, after the Gaza Energy Authority said Monday that the central fuel station has been receiving some 33 percent of the necessary amount of industrial diesel after the Ramallah-based government began curtailing supply.

The dispute arose in February, one month after the EU handed over control of fuel deliveries at the government`s request. The PA, citing budgetary difficulties, asked the EU to contribute funds to civil servant salaries but had trouble funding sufficient amounts of fuel.

PA officials say residents of Gaza must begin paying for their own electricity.

As much as $1 billion has been paid on their behalf, the PA says, as Gaza`s population -- facing 80 percent unemployment due to Israel`s blockade -- is unable to support itself and relies on external aid.

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