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Israel’s electric company ends power cuts to West Bank as Palestinians pay debt

Israel’s electric company ends power cuts to West Bank as Palestinians pay debt

Israel’s state-owned electric company said on Wednesday it was ending power cuts to the occupied West Bank. The decision was made after the Palestinians’ main power distributor paid off a chunk of their debt.

Israel Electric Corp (IEC) began sporadic, three-hour power cuts on December 18 to press for payment of some $519 million owed by the Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO). IEC stopped the cuts after JDECO transferred $214.2 million of debt accumulated by the Palestinian Authority since 2016.

Palestinians in the West Bank rely on IEC for over 95 percent of their electricity supply. The cuts led to power outages in the cities of Ramallah and Bethlehem, affecting an estimated 130,000 people.

The Palestinians have tried to reduce their “dependence on Israel for energy,” in part through state- and private sector-funded solar energy projects and plans to build their own power plants, Reuters said.