JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Jerusalem Electricity Company is set to install smart meters in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Bethlehem to help improve efficiency, the company's general manager said Friday.
Hisham al-Umari told Ma'an that work will begin in February 2013 to replace over 14,000 meters in the three districts.
The smart meters will remove the need for inspectors to visit residential properties and enable the company to receive information about electricity consumption directly from homes.
The new system will also help detect energy theft and prevent electricity lines from being tampered with, al-Umari said, adding that subscribers will also be able to charge their meters without visiting the company.
The electricity company has faced mounting debts this year to its Israeli supplier, who have repeatedly threatened to cut power supplies.
The Palestinian Authority could make a serious contribution to end the electricity crisis if legal procedures are taken against the common practice of stealing electricity, al-Umari said in October.
He also called on the government to reactivate a public certification system whereby a declaration that all outstanding bills were paid was necessary for obtaining government services such as a driving license, birth registration or travel documents.
This 'acquittance system' was only canceled "to satisfy some powerful people who do not pay electricity bills," he said.