Millions of shekels worth of unpaid electricity bills in Palestinian controlled territories have prompted the Jerusalem District Electricity Company to propose a raise on electricity fares in cities and villages throughout the West Bank, in an attempt to bring the Palestinian Authority’s swelling debt crisis to a halt.
According to Palestinian News Agency Ma’an, the PA was presented Friday with two options by the Jerusalem District Electricity Company, which provides power to Palestinian areas, to either pay back the nearly NIS 400,000,000 ($110 million) debt in full, or to raise electricity tariffs to a level equivalent to that of Israel’s.
The PA was still considering the options, Ma’an reported.
The Jerusalem District Electricity Company is a private Palestinian distributor and is supplied by the Israel Electricity Corporation. The Palestinian company is owed millions of dollars by the Palestinian government, as well as residents of 12 refugee camps who haven’t paid for electricity in more than a decade.
On Thursday, Israel daily Yedioth Ahronoth reported that Israel Electricity Corporation director Yitfach Ron-Tal had demanded of the Israeli government to either pay back the PA’s debt or allow the company to disconnect electricity in the West Bank.
However, Jerusalem District Electricity Company director Hisham al-Omari denied that disconnecting West Bank cities and villages from electric supply was being considered as a response to the debt crisis, Ma’an reported.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.