Oil-rich Iraq grapples with power outages

Bureau Report

Karachi: Oil-rich Iraq has been unable to solve its 30-year electricity problem, which was made chronic first by an embargo and then by corruption, mismanagement and instability. The electricity crisis is a prime example of the difficulties Iraq faces in providing its public utility services.
The electricity sector was subject to largescale neglect, inadequate maintenance and looting before 2003. After the United States invasion, it was neglected due to years of corruption, despite great promises.
Power outages due to high temperatures in summer have played a role in prime ministers’ resignations, thus having an impact on the political balance in the country. Electricity has also been used as a means of repression by neighboring countries such as Iran. Recently, the Electricity Minister Majid Mahdi Hantoush resigned July 2 due to protests which especially heightened after almost daylong power outages in four provinces in the south of the country.
Attacks by the Daesh terrorist group, insufficient production, a rising population and not being able to meet demand, accompanied by the Tehran administration cutting the nation’s electricity when Iraq couldn’t pay its debts – while at the same time not being able to import electricity from Gulf countries, as Iraq’s network is only linked to Iran – are factors that contributed to the crisis.