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Iraq Admits Electricity Shortfall During Summer

Iraq's outdated national power grid will meet less than half of the country's peak demand this summer.
BAGHDAD -- An Iraqi official says power generated by the country's national grid will fall far short of demand this summer despite additional government funds allocated to the energy sector, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

Electricity Ministry spokesman Masaab al-Mudarris told RFI on June 15 that the outdated national grid will meet less than half of Iraq's summer peak demand of some 15,000 megawatts.

He said government ministers decided at a cabinet session earlier this week to allocate a further $927 million to increase the country's electricity-generating capacity.

Al-Mudarris said part of this sum will be used to pay arrears and fulfill other financial obligations to foreign contractors working on projects in Iraq, with the rest going to upgrade the country's run-down power distribution network.

He said the ministry has purchased 56 turbines from the American company General Electric and Germany's Siemens. The seven-megawatt turbines are being installed in 10 different areas of Iraq.

He added that Turkish, South Korean, and local firms are currently building power plants in Karbala, Mosul, and Baghdad which will increase output by some 3,000 megawatts when they are completed.

Al-Mudarris said Iraq plans to eventually increase its electricity-generating capacity to some 17,000 megawatts, primarily through the construction of new plants.

In the meantime, Iraqis are bracing themselves for longer power outages than they currently endure as demand soars during the searing-hot summer.