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Israeli electric company to end outages after Palestinians pay up

By Ramla Soni

Power cuts were introduced December 18 to press for payment of $519m owed by Jerusalem District Electricity Company

Israel’s state-owned electric company Israel Electric Corp (IEC) is ending power cuts in the West Bank after it received payments for outstanding debts.

IEC began widespread three-hour outages in December press for around $519m (£395m, €468m) owed by the Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO).

JDECO had said that the debt accumulated because many residents did not pay their power bills. Illegal electricity connections in residents homes, particularly in refugee camps,were also to blame.

Palestinians in the West Bank rely on IEC for over 95 per cent of their electricity supply. The cuts led to power outages in Ramallah and Bethlehem, affecting an estimated 130,000 people, JDECO said.

JDECO, which buys electricity from IEC and sells it to customers in the West Bank territory that Israel captured in the 1967 war, is said to have signed a loan agreement with several Palestinian banks to pay off the debt.

The Palestinians have tried to reduce dependence on Israel for energy, by introducing state and private sector-funded solar energy projects. They also plan to build their own power plants.

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