Electric Company to Cut PA Power as Debts Pile Up

YERUSHALAYIM -
View from inside the control room at the Israel Electricity Company power station. Yaakov Naumi/Flash90
View from inside the control room at the Israel Electric Company power station. (Yaakov Naumi/Flash90)

The Israel Electric Company on Thursday will cut the flow of power to the Palestinian Authority-controlled city of Jericho by 50 percent, Army Radio reported Thursday. The power cut is due to the massive debt the PA owes the IEC and has refused to pay for years.

The move has been approved by defense officials, the report said. Previous attempts to cut power to PA cities, including Shechem and Ramallah, were met by opposition by officials who feared it would increase tensions.

The PA owes the IEC over NIS 1.7 billion ($440 million), most of it due to debts by the East Jerusalem Power Company, which serves Ramallah, Jericho, Beit Lechem, and Arab villages in the area of Yerushalayim.

Last year, the IEC cut power twice for several hours to several PA cities before the government intervened and gave the company NIS 300 million out of customs and taxes collected by Israel on behalf of the PA. The government has so far not commented on the matter, and neither has the PA.