REFORM holds a round-table session at Dura municipality to discuss the problem of electricity service provision in southern Hebron

The Palestinian Association for Empowerment and Local Development – REFORM implemented a round table session at Dura municipality to discuss best ways to provide basic electricity services to citizens in the areas of Dhahiriya, Dura, and Yatta, and contribute in resolving the problem of frequent electricity outages in those areas. The session also aimed at ensuring that complementary roles among related parties are filled as well as to enhance the coordination between relevant peers in order to provide the citizens there with the basic services.

The meeting was held with the participation of Dr. Fawzi abu Hleil- The Head of Dura Municipality, Mr. Basil Abd Al-Jawwad the head of the Operation Department at Palestinian Energy and Natural Resources Authority, Mr. Abd Al-Rahman Al-Darawish, board member of the South Electricity Company, other representatives of the South Electricity Company and a number of citizens and other local authorities.

The meeting began by indicating that the electricity crisis in south Hebron regions; which started years ago was inflamed by the lack of coordination among competent bodies in addition to the limited numbers of developmental projects that are being held in that area, despite the fact that these regions have a high publication density (105,000 inhabitants in Dora and its surrounding villages, 90,000 in Yatta and its surrounding villages, and 40,000 in Al-Dhahiriya and its surrounding villages) and, therefore, require multiple developmental interventions.

Eng. Basel Abd Al- Jawwad highlighted the role of the Palestinian authority in solving the electricity crisis in the south; and its continuous attempts to make agreements among the competent authorities.

He stated that the reason behind the escalation of the crisis is the lack of investing in the infrastructure development. Despite the establishment of the high pressure plants in 2008 and the electricity distribution networks in Jenin, Nablus, Qalandia, and west of Hebron in 2015, the Palestinian Authority could not efficiently supply the area with electricity as a result of complicated operating conditions and high costs, as well as the Israeli occupation policies that refuse to solve this issue.

Board member of the South Electricity Company, Abd Al-Rahman Al-Darawish, indicated that the solution lies in raising the electricity capacity in southern Hebron by operating Biet Oula station as soon as possible. He also asserted the importance of implementing infrastructural projects and installing power lines to resolve the crisis. Moreover, Mr. Al-Darawish encouraged finding solutions for the unpaid debts that the company owes citizens in those areas and confirmed the importance of enhancing integration and communication among competent authorities.

At the end of the meeting, the attendees recommended to include all the municipalities of southern Hebron as members in the South Electricity Company, and to incubate youth entrepreneurial initiatives that rely on renewable energy, and involve local authorities in the strategic planning of the energy authority to unify efforts in resolving this issue.