Shingal private power generators off for lack of diesel

Ninewa, April 2021: Residents of Siba Sheikh Khidir village of Shingal district protest missing public services including electricity. KirkukNow

By Ammar Aziz in Ninewa

Residents of Shingal (Sinjar) district west of Ninewa province have been without electricity for more than nine hours after some of the private generators in the district were shut down due to problems receiving gas.

According to KirkukNow, more than 21 of total 43 private diesel generators in the central district of Shingal and Sinuny subdistrict were shut down by their owners who are demanding diesel supply.

"All the 11 generators in the district center have been out of order for three days, so whenever there is no (national) electricity, people will be left without electricity," Fahad Hamid, the acting mayor of Shingal, told KirkukNow.

He said the main problem of the owners of the generators is shortage of diesel at a reasonable price following the shutdown of unlicensed private petrol stations in Kirkuk and Ninewa by Baghdad, so he contacted the Ninewa administration and was promised to provide gas, yet no date determined.

There is about 15 hours of public electricity in Shingal and more than 9 hours of outage due to the shutdown of generators, while the temperature in the area excedds 40 degrees Celsius.

Hassan Khudeda, a resident of Zorava community in Sinuny and owner of a private generator, told KirkukNow, said he provides 700 amps of electricity to the citizens and buys diesel from other areas at higher prices.

Last month, all the private petrol stations in Shingal were closed by the Iraqi government for lack of official licenses.

There are 20 private stations and only two government stations in Shingal district, one in the center of the district and the other in the district of Sinuny.

The district of Shingal, 120 km west of Mosul, administratively affiliated to Ninewa province, and part of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil, is home to over 300,000 Ezidis.

Ninewa, 2022: The main street in the center of Sinuny subdistrict under Shingal distric. Laith Gruzeri

Following gulf war in 1991, the Iraqi state infrastructure was sharply hit by the economic embargo on Saddam Hussein regime due to damage of many transmission lines and substations leaving the basic services provided by the state inadequate.

Beside the national network of state-subsidized electricity supply all over Iraq, residential units and business projects rely on private generators for power supply to fill the gap of national power outage.

Khudeda confirmed that before 2014, take over of Ninewa and large swathes of Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS, the private generators were receiving monthly coupons to get state-subsidized diesel, but after retaikning the region in 2017, the coupons were not renewed.

Government gas is supplied to private generators at a price of 400 to 450 Iraqi dinars IQD (USD0.3) per liter, according to official coupons, while the price of each liter in the market reaches 1,000 IQD.

The mayor of Shingal said that the same problem exists in Sinuny and other areas, after the closure of private gas stations, because the price of gas has sharply soared and difficult to obtain.

“The people cannot tolerate lack of electricity,” the mayor added.

ISIS's attacks on Shingal (120 km west of Mosul) eight years ago have damaged the public sector, including the destruction of water and electricity networks, the collapse of houses, schools and religious sites, and thousands of Yazidis are still displaced, living under tents in Duhok Northern Province.

Despite the administrative-security pact between Baghdad and Erbil to restore security, stability and renovation of the war-torn region, the political polarizations and the rise of paramilitaries have hindered reconstruction for the vulnerable Ezidi (Yazidi) community.

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