US General Predicts Years of Electricity Shortages

The US general charged with the military's reconstruction efforts in the Middle East said on Tuesday that Iraq will need at least another three years before it is able to satisfy current electricity demand,  but this demand continues to rise as Iraqis purchase more consumer goods for their homes such as refrigerators and air conditioners.

"Probably 2013, 2014 would be the earliest that I think they would be able to have a shot at generating enough power, with the requisite distribution and transmission capability, to have some sort of sustained, close to, 24 hours (per day) of power," Brigadier General Kendall Cox told reporters at a briefing in Baghdad.

Cox is commander of the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Transatlantic Division, which handles USACE projects in the Central Command area, stretching from Egypt to central Asia.

He estimated that current demand for electricity in Iraq was between 12,000 and 14,000 megawatts, with supply at just over 6,000 megawatts.

Violent protests swept the country over the summer months when temperatures hit 54 degrees Celsius (130 degrees Fahrenheit), leading to the the resignation of the Minister of Electricity.

(Source: Reuters)

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