West Bank Faces Impending Electricity Crisis

The general director of the Jerusalem Electricity Company on Monday called on the Palestinian Authority to intervene in an impending electricity crisis in the West Bank.

Hisham al-Omari called on the PA to take action after the Israeli Electric Corporation threatened to cut off electricity to the West Bank due to unpaid bills amounting to over $100 million.

The Israeli company said that it had informed its Jerusalem-based Palestinian counterpart that procedures were being taken to cut off electricity and take control of the company’s belongings and bank accounts.

"We are facing a really dangerous crisis and can’t solely take responsibility and the PA must intervene because it’s a common responsibility," al-Omari told Ma’an.

"The company’s debts reached 423 million shekels, with the PA’s debt 120 million shekels, and the refugee camps’ debt alone reaches 250 million shekels," he added.

The PA must immediately pay its debt to the Jerusalem Electricity Company, al-Omari said, adding that citizens must also pay their bills.

Hasan Muslih, a member of the JEC’s board of directors, told Ma’an on Monday that a major reason for the accumulation of debt is that refugees in camps in the West Bank refuse to pay their bills.

There is also a disparity in the buying and selling tariff of electricity, he added.

The threatened cut to supplies would affect areas in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Jericho, Muslih said, adding that power cuts in the West Bank could become as frequent as in the Gaza Strip.

(Ma’an)

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