- Mar 13, 2007
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Electricity still an issue in Iraq
An adequate electricity service remains one of the main dreams of Iraqi citizens, a promise as yet unfulfilled by the Iraqi parliament and government.
Homes have electricity for no more than a few hours at a time, with some staying without electricity for days.
As Iraq's severe summer starts, life in temperatures higher than 50C is a nightmare.
The crisis has given birth to several makeshift solutions, including the sale of commercial public generators and smaller generators for the home.
...."Zuhal Ibrahim, 38, a widow, told Al Jazeera that she has to pay the monthly subscription to the public generators or the heat without air conditioning would be unbearable.
"I have to make a budget, it is not like in the past, you just pay an subsidised electricity bill; public generators sell us one ampere for 15,000 dinars a month ($11). We need five amperes which is around 25 per cent of my monthly income."
Ibrahim's sister Fawzia, 64, a retired government employee, said the public generators are the best solution available, but not perfect.
"It is true we cannot live without those generators, but their service is not hassle free," she said.
"We suffer from several unexpected power failures a day. If a US tank or any huge military machinery passes the generator's messy wires net, we are in trouble; it would take them quite some time to fix the wires.
"The generators also need service, which means we have to stay without electricity whenever maintenance is needed, which is also on a daily basis.
"Last month, the generator's owner wanted a fee increase, we refused, he got angry and left us without electricity for days until a new guy took over.........
....Dhafir al-Ani, a member of parliament, said the parliament asked Wahid Karim, the minister of electricity, to join a session last February to present his ministry's plan to restore the electricity service.
"Mr Karim did attend a parliament session, where he was asked to clarify the reason why people do not have electricity, knowing that the electricity service was regular until the day the US forces entered Baghdad on April 9, 2003," he said.
"He blamed the shortage of electricity on attacks on his ministry's facilities. We could not get an elaboration on who is exactly attacking those facilities.
"The minister was defensive, and gave no vision for future plans. He was faced with information that some contractors are attacking the facilities, in order to win reconstruction bids. He acknowledged that he received such information, but he has no evidence to prove it........"