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Iraqi Province Sees Major Power Boost From Reconstruction Aid

BAGHDAD -- An Iraqi official says that the 15 power projects being worked on by the U.S. Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Iraq's southern province of Dhi Qar could vastly improve the electricity supply in the region, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

Dhi Qar provincial council member Abdul-Hussein Hajr al-Mufadhal told RFI that U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Hill, during a recent visit to the region, “instructed the PRT to help our province, which is suffering from the government's budgetary squeeze, in various spheres, including the power sector, health, and sport."

Al-Mufadhal said that the PRT has responded by agreeing with the local government to implement "15 power projects that will electrify 11 districts with some 105 transformers to be supplied by the [PRT]."

He said a contract has been signed with a foreign company to build a power plant that will increase output by 450 megawatts within 18 months, enough energy to end the power shortage currently affecting the province.

Al-Mufadhal underlined that the "PRT normally commissions reliable, well-known firms" to implement such projects in the province.

He also expressed hope that these projects will serve as proof of stability and security in Dhi Qar and prompt investors to start pumping money into business opportunities in "this long-deprived province."