May 29 2012
By Basem Hussein
Azzaman, May 29, 2012
As Iraq’s scorching summer months approach, worries about power shortages have come to the fore with the Electricity Ministry officials warning of protracted daily outages.
In the meantime, pledges by the ministry that conditions will improve dramatically once major power stations currently under construction come on stream are falling on deaf ears.
Several Iraqi members of parliament said they were seeking signatures from colleagues to summon Electricity Minister Abdulkarim Al-Jumaili for questioning.
“The reality of the electricity situation shows that we are going to face the same strategy of lack of power as we did in the past summers when supplies from the national grid reached their lowest level,” said Qutaiba al-Jibouri, who leads a parliamentary bloc of several legislators.
“Iraq has spent more than $25 billion on this vital sector since 2003 and we have not seen any tangible improvement. This is a dangerous indicator,” Jibouri added.
The national grid can barely provide electricity for four to five hours a day despite the massive investment.
Jibouri said Iraqi legislators would like to hear from the electricity minister on where the money went and when “the electricity tragedy” will come to an end.
Jumaili, the electricity minister, was reported as telling local newspapers that Iraq’s power output was on the increase and predicted an end to outages by the end of 2013.
Jumaili outlined the projects his ministry was executing through the assistance of foreign firms.
He said in a few years more than 27,000 megawatts should be available, “a volume that surpasses the country’s needs,” he said.