Following emergency coronavirus discussions by the Israel Electric Corporation board of directors, chairman Yiftah Ron-Tal has instructed the company not to disconnect electricity of consumers with unpaid bills and to provide emergency codes for those who pay through meters.

This follows advocacy by NIFC funded partner the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), which demanded that the Ministry of Energy instruct the Israel Electric Corp. to halt its practice of disconnecting electricity from home consumers unable to pay their bills.

Ron-Tal said, “The Electricity Corporation is sensitive to the public’s needs and against the backdrop of the tense atmosphere and the uncertainty, light and electricity are more than a vital product, they are a product that provides necessary security and stability.”

Even before the current COVID-19 outbreak, ACRI has been arguing that electricity is a basic human right and to use Ron-Tal’s words, electricity is “more than a vital product that provides necessary security and stability” and that impoverished families should not be punished over their debts.

In the wake of Ron-Tal’s decision, ACRI said, “We are glad to see a step in the right direction in relief for those living in poverty. We hope that after the coronavirus crisis, it will be possible to consider how to “provide this necessary security and stability’ to all Israelis regardless of their economic situation, because electricity is not superfluous but a basic human right, especially now.”