Efforts to Privatize Electricity face Resistance

Moudarres said, “The ministry is carrying on with implementing the project, which it covers by 94%; 1 kilowatt[-hour] costs the state 180 dinars ($0.15) and it is sold [to citizens] for 10 dinars ($0.01),” noting that “the ministry has agreed with Basra, Kirkuk, Samarra, Karbala and Babylon to start implementing the project there.”

He further explained, “Some of those who were negatively affected by the project are working against it and trying to mislead public opinion by forging bills and posting pictures of them on social media.”

Meanwhile, Iaraz Abdullah, the head of parliament's Oil and Energy Committee, told Al-Monitor, “We are still experimenting with the project to privatize electricity, despite the opposition expressed by some provincial councils and citizens,” stressing, “The project succeeded in Zayouna, but it might not in other areas.”

He continued, “The Energy Committee is following the policy adopted by the Ministry of Electricity, which still needs major upgrades in terms of production,” noting that “the committee will express its final position in the coming days.”

The Ministry of Electricity currently sells citizens 1 kilowatt-hour for 10 dinars for usage up to 1,000 kilowatt-hours. The price rises to 20 dinars (2 US cents) per kilowatt-hour up to 1,500 kilowatt-hours; beyond that the price goes up to 40 dinars per kilowatt-hour.

Faleh al-Ziadi, the governor of Muthanna, told Al-Monitor, “Our rejection was not random; we considered the project and asked the ministry several questions such as whether we would be provided with around-the-clock electricity, whether the prices would be suitable for the poor, especially since half of the province’s population lives under the poverty line, and whether it will support agriculture and industry,” adding, “But the central government and the Ministry of Electricity are yet to answer the questions we raised.”

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