By Abu Iraq and Khalid Waleed.
This article was originally published by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, iwpr.net, and it is reproduced by Iraq Business News with permission. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News
Iraq's government sacked a senior energy official and launched investigations into others after residents of the southern port city of Basra staged angry protests over prolonged power cuts.
"The electricity ministry ordered the dismissal of the director-general of power distribution in the southern region, and warned managers of electrical projects and networks in Basra that they could face penalties," a statement published on the ministry’s website said last week. "They are responsible for damaging three important transmission lines."
The announcement came in response to demonstrations that erupted in Basra as residents grew weary of the constant power outages as Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, got under way.
The lack of air conditioners and electric fans compounded the hardship of fasting in the soaring daytime temperatures of late July and August.
"Life has become unbearable – we can’t breathe since there’s no electricity [for cooling] in this summer’s extreme heat," Saad Hadi, a taxi driver who joined the protests, said. "Power cuts are nothing new, but with the summer heat and Ramadan, we can’t put up with it any longer.”