Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has admitted to a “defect and stupidity” in the contracts signed by Iraqi officials with international companies to improve his country’s power distribution.
On July 23, in a Baghdad meeting with economic affairs experts broadcast by Iraqi satellite channels, Maliki said that he had “formed a committee to investigate the failure of Iraqi officials specialized in electricity.” He charged, “They were giving me wrong numbers. They said that Iraqis are getting 30,000 MW [megawatts] and that this amount exceeds their needs and can be exported abroad.”
On June 20, prominent Shiite leader and Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussein al-Shahristani had asserted, “By the end of this year, power generation in Iraq will be sufficient to meet the citizens’ needs, as pledged by the Ministry of Electricity.” He also claimed, “Electricity distribution hours in Baghdad range from 15 to 16 hours a day.”
Despite promises by officials that residents would receive 18 hours of power a day in 2013, the current reality indicates that they are receiving much less. Indeed, based on the firsthand experience of this Al-Monitor correspondent, Baghdad residents on average enjoy six hours of electricity, at most, while some areas of the city remain completely without electricity.
Iraqis are frustrated and exhausted by the country’s power supply problems. Officials have for eight years alleged progress in the electricity sector. Today, Iraqis have no confidence in the validity of such statements and generally ridicule them.