Abbas tightens sanctions for electricity theft in West Bank
Published Saturday 18/08/2012 (updated) 20/08/2012 11:28
The threatened cut to supplies would affect areas in Bethlehem,
Jerusalem, Ramallah and Jericho. (MaanImages/File)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- President Mahmoud Abbas has approved a legal amendment to increase penalties for the theft of electricity after a West Bank electricity company warned it would be cut off for unpaid bills.
Legal adviser to the president Hasan al-Awri told Ma'an the amendments increase the minimum jail term for electricity theft or manipulation of bills to four months, and a fine between 300 and 1,500 Jordanian dinars ($424 - 2,121).
In addition, sabotage or destruction of electricity installation will incur a jail term of between one and three years, and a fine between 2,000 and 10,000 Jordanian dinars ($2,828 - 14,140), he added.
The amendments to the 2009 electricity law entered into force on Thursday, he said.
While the legal changes are important, they are not a complete solution due to the need for enforcement, Al-Awri told Ma'an.
Lack of enforcement encourages further theft, he stressed, calling for security agencies to arrest people stealing electricity and require payment by those evading bills.
The Jerusalem Electricity Company said last week it had 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).
The threatened cut to supplies would affect areas in Bethlehem, Jerusalem, Ramallah and Jericho.
The Israeli company agreed to postpone cuts until after the Eid al-Fitr holiday this weekend, and agreed a scheduled payment plan to reduce debts.