Water company replaces Israeli-made meter from woman’s home after she objected to ‘repression of Palestine’
A water company has replaced an Israeli-built meter in the home of a customer who objected to the ‘repression of Palestine’.
Caroline and Edmond O’Reilly asked Southern Water to replace the device because the manufacturers, Arad Technologies, are accused of ‘profiteering’ in the West Bank.
The company has now agreed to install a second-hand appliance built by a different manufacturer.
Pro-Palestinian campaigners claim the decision paves the thousands of other customers to object to the meters on ethical grounds.
Campaign: Protestors in Brighton, including Edmond O’Reilly, pictured on the doorstep, and his wife Carloline, second left, persuaded Southern Water to remove an Israeli-made water meter after objecting to its use on ethical grounds
Mrs O’Reilly, of Brighton, East Sussex, said: ‘The letter said they would be round to change my meter this week because of my concerns over its origin.
‘I’ve now got a model that’s been refurbished, instead of the new ones they’ve bought from Arad.’
Mrs O’Reilly said her objection was based on the Israeli Government’s alleged incursions on to Palestinian land and Arad’s connections with the government.
She said: ‘Since 2000 the Israelis have systematically destroyed the Palestinian water supply infrastructure and Arad supplies the Israeli government.
‘Should we turn a blind eye, we collude in supporting a system that is systematically discriminating against people who are powerless against a state that seems to be attempting to drive Palestinians out of Palestine.’
Arad Technologies are said to have installed 3,200 water meters in settlement industrial zones in the West Bank.
The Israeli company secured a £36 million contract with Southern Water in February 2010 to provide meters, meter reading services and data hosting services across Hampshire, Surrey, Kent and Sussex.
It recently announced plans to install 500,000 meters in homes across their region by 2015 in attempt to meet government targets to cut average water use from 148 to 130 litres per person per day by 2030.
The cost of installing a meter costs the company up to £200 per house.
A spokesman from the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: ‘Southern Water’s offer of changing the meter paves the way for thousands of other people to have their meter changed if they wish.
‘It costs up to £200 to change a meter. How many people are going to want their Israeli meter out?
‘We will be flyering thousands of households across Sussex that are due to have an Arad meter installed as part of Southern Water’s metering programme to let them know they don’t have to have the Israeli-made device.’
Southern Water said this was the first case of its kind since 2010 and that their decision did not reflect a blanket policy.
A spokesman for the company said: ‘A conclusion should not be drawn that this facility will be offered as an option to all customers.
‘Every customer’s complaint will be viewed on an individual basis so that appropriate decisions can be made.
‘I stress that in three years we have received only about a dozen such requests from nearly 300,000 meter installations and only one request has been agreed.
‘In one customer’s case we have installed a second-hand conventional meter which was removed from another property in our area which now has the improved Arad meters.’