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Official: West Bank electricity prices to rise

Feb. 5, 2013 5:29 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 6, 2013 6:04 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Electricity prices in the West Bank will rise this month, the general manager of the Jerusalem Electricity Company Hisham al-Umari said Tuesday.

Palestinian companies buy electricity from an Israeli provider, which has recently announced that a 10 percent price rise will be implemented later this month, al-Umari told Ma'an.

He said the company has informed the Palestinian Authority government of the cost increase, and the government will have to decide what share of the price is passed on to Palestinian consumers.

The Palestinian companies accumulated millions of dollars on debt in recent years, citing an enforcement problem for bill collection. Last summer, Israel threatened to cut off power over the arrears, and used a tax seizure from Palestinian customs duties in November to pay off the supplier.

The Palestinian Authority has tried to strengthen enforcement by ending an amnesty for refugees in the West Bank. It cancelled all outstanding electricity debts in January, saying the measure was a prelude to a tightened regime of bill collection.

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