Iraq to provide free fuel for neighbourhood generators

Power shortages a sensitive topic in war-battered nation

* Free gasoil for generators that run for at least half day

BAGHDAD May 25 (Reuters) – Iraq’s cabinet has agreed to provide free fuel to neighbourhood generators across the country on condition they supply at least 12 hours of electricity a day at reasonable prices, the oil ministry said on Wednesday.

The decision was an apparent move to calm simmering popular anger over persisting power outages in the war-battered OPEC oil producer during the scorching summer.

Discontent over shortages and lack of basic services has triggered recent street protests against Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s shaky cross-sectarian coalition government.

The power issue is one of the most sensitive and frustrating for ordinary Iraqis who complain of continuing hardships eight years after the U.S.-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and unleashed years of chaos and sectarian violence.

“The cabinet gave approval to the oil ministry to provide state and private generators for citizens with their full share of fuel for free,” the ministry said in a statement.

Iraq’s national electricity grid, crippled by years of war and underinvestment, is expected to supply less than half of Iraq’s 15,000-megawatt peak demand this summer as temperatures head to levels above 50 degrees Celsius.

Electricity Minister Raad Shallal said in March the power supply through the grid this summer would be about 7,000 megawatts, enough to provide eight hours of electricity per day. read more

Categories: Asia, Iraq, United States

2 replies

  1. The normal household in Baghdad pays between 150 and 200$ per month for generators. One apartment I visited had the following arrangements: (1) neighborhood generator, (2) personal small generator, (3) car batteries. Neighborhood generators are large generators taking care for one or more apartment buildings. They are privately owned. To provide them will free fuel will not yet enable them to provide free electricity, because part of the 150 – 200$ costs are also the cost of the generator and the staff. In fact not sure how much of the saving the operator will pass on to the user. With temperatures soon reaching the 50 degrees Centigrade (probably in the coming week) the temperature and the tempers heat up. – However, of course, not every one can afford the cost of the neighborhood generators! Many people have no generators at all …

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