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Monday, July 01, 2013

Israel Electric Company to become Sabbath observant?

It has long been the case that in communities that follow the rulings of Rabbi Avraham Yeshaya Karelitz (the Chazon Ish), inhabitants have private communal generators for the Sabbath rather than use electricity produced by the Israel Electric Company, whose employees are overwhelmingly Jewish. The Electric Company's unions balked at the notion of their employees - who are among the highest paid in the country at their regular salaries - being replaced by non-Jews, because work on the Sabbath draws triple pay.

Now, due to automation, there may no longer be a need for Israel Electric Company employees to work on the Sabbath. The Israel Electric Company may become Sabbath observant (Hat Tip: Aryeh Z).
The automation process has actually been underway for several years, but new technology, such as the use of smart meters, has enabled the company to speed up the process, to the extent that Sabbath electricity generation could be fully automated as soon as a year from now.

The automation process is being supervised by several rabbinical organizations, such as the Tzomet group, which examines the halachic implications of technological issues.
An IEC spokesperson said that theoretically the automation process could be applied to the rest of the week as well. However, the spokesperson said, that was not on the agenda, so long as the IEC was still a government-controlled company, with its primary interest not necessarily the profit motive, but improving the lives of Israelis wherever possible.
Ah yes, that good old socialist ethos. You didn't expect your electric bill to go down (it's gone up 30% in the last year), did you?

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