May 23rd, 2011 12:25 pm · Posted in NEWS (Iraq & World Currency)
Basra, May 23 (AKnews) – Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and Electricity Minister Raad al-Hares are to meet with governors from the central and southern Iraqi provinces on Tuesday to discuss the current electricity crisis, said the governor of Basra.
Khalaf Abdul Samad told AKnews that the talks will focus on resolving the issue of electricity distribution in preparation for the long Iraqi summer when temperatures often exceed 50 degrees Celsius.
Demand for electricity in Iraq during the summer months is estimated at around 14,000 megawatts (MW).
According to government figures, the energy currently available to Iraq stands at around 9,000 MW.
The provision of adequate electricity supplies was a central point of contention in the wave of public protests that swept through the Iraqi provinces earlier this year.
In 2010, several civilians were killed in clashes with the police when angry protestors took to the streets to demonstrate against the government as national electricity supplies left them with just four hours of power a day.
Former Electricity Minister Karim Washid was forced to step down due to mounting public pressure.
The federal Ministry of Electricity announced at the beginning of February its intention to launch licensing rounds for investment in the country’s electricity sector in order to meet the demands of the summer months.
The licensing rounds are part of a government scheme to raise the national electricity generating capacity to 27,000 MW over the next four years with annual allocations of between $3bn and $4bn.
Iraq’s acute shortage of electricity stems from its generating plants and power lines, badly neglected during more than three decades of economic sanctions, successive wars and more recently, targeted by insurgent groups.
The Chairman of Basra’s Electricity Committee, Ziyad Ali Fadel, told AKnews that the shortage of electricity in the province will be resolved completely with the completion of ongoing investment projects and with the payment of funds allocated from this year’s federal budget to rehabilitate Basra’s power stations.
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