Following threats: PA denies claims of debts to the Israel Electric Corporation

PNN/ Bethlehem/

The Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) threatened that it will begin cutting off the electricity supply to the Palestinian Authority after the upcoming September 17 elections due to ‘outstanding debts’, Kan Israeli website said on Sunday.

According to the website, IEC will cut off the electricity supply to Palestinian villages in the West Bank to put pressure on the PA to pay its NIS 1.7 billion electric bill.

Two weeks ago, the IEC has reportedly notified Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the ministers of finance and energy, the Electricity Authority and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories about the decision to cut off the electricity supply due to the PA’s debt.

A High Court decision two months ago stated that starting from the date of the notification to the relevant parties, the IEC has to wait 35 days until being permitted to cut off the electricity supply.

Last August, it was reported in the Marker newspaper that the Israeli Ministry of Finance is moving to transfer an estimated NIS 500 million to the electricity company from the Palestinian tax funds collected by the occupation authorities, claiming to pay the accumulated debts of the Palestinian Authority to the IEC.

In response, Head of the Palestinian Energy Authority, Thafer Melhem denied  claims of accumulate debts by the Palestinian Electricity Company to the tune of 1.7 billion shekel.

Melhem explained that there are only debts accumulated on the Al-Quds electricity  company, worth 600 million shekels, and that within the 2016 agreement, the company is scheduling these debts, but new, according to Melhem, Israel retracted from this agreement, and asked to pay the remaining amount at once, threatening that otherwise, the power will be cut off from the Jerusalem Electricity Concession areas after two weeks.

In addition, Melhem  told Voice of Palestine radio that the PA Energy Authority and Massader are about to put the final touches to their ongoing negotiations to start construction of a new power plant in Jenin, which will be the largest in the PA, as soon as possible, SAWA reported.

The Power Plant will be a gas fired Combined Cycle Gas Turbine (CCGT) with a generation capacity of approximately 450 megawatts, supplied by natural gas from the Gaza Marine gas field.

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