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Year-long Dispute Seemingly Settled

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The Energy Ministry and the Arab-owned East Jerusalem Electric Corp. appear to have settled a year-long dispute over the utility’s debt and its allegedly unreliable performance in providing power to Jewish customers.

The agreement in principle reached Wednesday between Energy Minister Moshe Shahal and the company’s board of directors provides for the Electric Corp. to surrender its franchise to provide power to Jewish neighborhoods in East Jerusalem and to Jewish settlements and military camps in the West Bank.

The Israel Electric Corp. will take over the equipment needed to serve Jewish customers and will waive a $16 million debt owed it by the East Jerusalem Electric Corp. The latter’s franchise to serve Arab areas, which expires at the end of this month, will be renewed for 10 years. The deal is subject to formal agreement between the parties and appropriate legislation by the Knesset.

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