Palestinian Authority owes Israel Electric Company $389 million

The Israel Electric Company building in Haifa. Credit: David King via Wikimedia Commons.

( If the Israel Electric Company (IEC) were a private entity, it would shut off electricity to the Palestinian Authority because of the PA’s outstanding bill of 1.37 billion shekels ($389 million), IEC Chairman Yiftah Ron-Tal told the Knesset Finance Committee on Tuesday.

“People complain about the perk of free electricity that company employees receive. But the users that get the most free electricity are the Palestinians,” Ron-Tal said, Israel Hayom reported.

“Their outstanding bill increases by 70 million to 80 million shekels ($20 million to $22 million) a month,” Ron-Tal continued. “If a regular citizen didn’t pay his electric bill, we'd cut him off within a week. But here—despite the company’s enormous debt—we are forced to keep supplying the Palestinian electricity grid. Our hands are tied.”

Ron-Tal warned that a failure to collect payment from the PA would require the IEC to raise tariffs for Israelis.

Finance Committee Chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) said, “It’s possible that we might have to urge a consumer revolt. If there are some people don’t pay the IEC and that’s OK, then we can’t pay, either.”

Posted on February 26, 2014 .