People who have difficulty breathing on their own and need inhalers are not entitled to protection against power outages. This is implied by a new update document published by the Electricity Authority regarding the electricity disconnection policy in Israel. Although the new document significantly expanded the number of those protected from detachment, a result of a petition to the High Court filed by the Association for Civil Rights and other organizations, many patients were once again left behind.
The Association for Civil Rights, together with the Human Rights Clinic at Tel Aviv University, found a number of shortcomings and problems that were also revealed in the latest document submitted to the public for comment: Only, but ignores impaired quality of life from extreme suffering or cases where health is significantly impaired over a longer period of time.
The criteria for disconnecting electricity do not include an exceptional mechanism that allows a decision to disconnect from electricity to be appealed. In addition, the authority also refuses to accept recommendations from GPs and requires the approval of specialist doctors or an administrative body, in a way that may exclude vulnerable populations and make it very difficult to exercise protection from disconnection.
The organizations are also attacking the Electricity Authority over the very principled policy that allows the IEC to use its power to lower the shelter, as a means of pressure to collect debts from poor consumers. According to them, in the case of a consumer who accumulates debt and lives in poverty, power outages should not be used at all.
Advocate Maskit Bendel from the Association for Civil Rights: “Electricity is an essential component of the right to live with dignity, and the current policy does not address the tens of thousands of poor households with children, the elderly and the sick who live for long periods without electricity. We call on Energy Minister Karin Elharar to get into the thick of things and work to ban disconnections for the poorest. “
The Electricity Authority’s response: “The Ministry of Health’s recommendations have been implemented almost in full. The inclusion of hundreds of thousands of inhalation users could generate additional costs for all electricity consumers, and more work is currently being done with the Ministry of Health to try to make an accurate diagnosis of people using inhalation.” Only after a considerable period of time, during which the consumer is offered various individual options. “