(JNS.org) The Israel Electricity Company (IEC) on Thursday began decreasing the flow of electricity to the West Bank city of Jericho by one-third, causing power outages, said Hisham Al-Omari, director general of the Arab Electricity Company in eastern Jerusalem. The Jerusalem Post quoted sources as saying that the electricity supply to Jericho was reduced from 15 to 7.5 megawatts because of unpaid Palestinian electricity bills of more than $450 million.
About 80 percent of the debt belongs to Palestinians customers of the Jerusalem District Electricity Company, which provides electricity to Jericho, Bethlehem, Ramallah, and parts of eastern Jerusalem. The rest of the debt belongs to customers in Palestinian Authority-controlled areas. Al-Omari admitted that many Palestinian customers are not paying their electricity bills, and also cited an “increased phenomenon of electricity theft.” When Palestinian Authority police tried to collect on debts, they were reportedly met with violence and threats.
Sources at the IEC said the decision to reduce Jericho’s electricity supply was based on the fact that the city also receives electricity from Jordan, Haaretz reported.