Produced by Ali Al-Le'abiy
BAGHDAD, IRAQ–The electricity is the second greatest concern for the Iraqi people after security. Iraqis have suffered from a lack of electricity before the war and have been angry to see it continue after. The excuse most often given by Saddam’s regime was the impact of the sanctions and the lack of spare parts. The new Iraqi government blames the security situation and the lack of funding for new electricity providers.
Iraqi citizens have developed new ways to provide electricity to support their daily life. Diesel generators become a common piece of equipment to be seen in any neighborhood. You must open a membership with the generator’s owner and pay 15,000 Iraqi Dinar, approximately $10,for each ampere used per month. Normally an average house in Baghdad will be allowed to take about 10 to 20 ampere per day. This is barely enough to run the family’s fans, refrigerator, and a television. In better circumstances, the diesel generators provide power for 10 hours per day, but many Iraqi families cannot afford this luxury service.
Other Iraqis depend on their own gasoline generators, gasoline is approximately $40 US dollars for a full tank. This tank is enough for approximately 5 operating hours, but even getting the fuel for the generators can be a problem. For example, you must wait in a 4 to 5 hour queue at a gas station. Furthermore, the cost of the generator alone ranges between $500 and $1500.
Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity has repeatedly made statements about the electricity improvements coming soon. However, the Minister of Electricity is considered by many to be one of Iraq’s worst comedians due to large number of statements he’s given about improving the electricity, yet there have been few major improvements in electricity since 2003.
Editor's Note: The concept for Alive-in/ began in 2005 with the launch of Alive in Baghdad. Many of the stories produced by our team of Iraqi reporters were taken offline with the closure of blip.tv.
In remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the United States war against Iraq, we are republishing as much of Alive in Baghdad's original content as possible here on Alive-in/. Each story has been given its original date so that these posts don't overwhelm our current stories, and tagged as relevant.