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Israeli company threatens to cut West Bank electricity

Aug. 13, 2012 4:00 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 14, 2012 2:24 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- An Israeli electricity company has threatened to cut off supplies to the West Bank over unpaid debts, a Palestinian electricity company official said Monday.

The Jerusalem Electricity Company received an official warning from the Israeli Electric Corporation that it would cut off electricity due to unpaid debts amounting to 424 million shekels ($105 million), Hasan Muslih, a member of the JEC's board of directors, told Ma'an.

A major reason for the accumulation of debt is that refugee camps in the West Bank refuse to pay their bills, Muslih said. There is also a disparity in the buying and selling tariff of electricity, he added.

The threatened cut to supplies would affect areas in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Jericho, Muslih said, adding that power cuts in the West Bank could become as frequent as in the Gaza Strip.

The Jerusalem Electricity Company has organized a campaign to collect unpaid bills.

Gaza has been plagued with intermittent blackouts since February when Egypt stopped allowing Hamas authorities to receive fuel via a tunnel network under Gaza's southern border.
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