Jul 29 2012
By Basem al-Rikabi
At least $37 billion have been earmarked to revamp the country’s national grid since the 2003-U.S. invasion but Iraqis still suffer from outages that may continue up to 20 hours a day in some areas.
Power shortages come as the whole country is smoldering in temperatures which have gone beyond 55 degrees centigrade in Baghdad and other major cities.
The Electricity Ministry had promised to make 9,000 megawatts available during the scorching summer months, but all that it could produce was at around 8,000 megawatts.
The ministry blames high and unexpected demand for failures to boost power supply, according to a statement by its spokesperson Musaib al-Mudaris.
Mudaris claimed that the national gird was losing 30% of output due to violations by consumers and “excess consumption.”
Only the Kurdish region and its three provinces enjoy some stability in power, although interruptions are not uncommon.
The region no longer relies for its power needs on the national grid but mainly on private investors who have set up small plants to furnish major cities and towns.
The Province of Kirkuk, a major oil-producing center, has recently signed a contract with a Kurdish investor and as a result is having more hours of electricity than the rest of the country.
At current levels of consumption, the country is required to make available and round the clock at least 15,000 megawatts.
The Electricity Ministry has vowed to have more than that volume available by the end of 2013, but few in Iraq, given the ministry’s past record, would take that seriously.
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