The local administration northern, oil-rich city of Kirkuk says it has found a new solution to the high price of private generators, by installation of new private generators in the neighborhoods.
The decision came after some citizens protested in front of the governor's office against the high price of electricity, which is between 15,000 to 17,000 Iraqi dinars IQD ($15.5) per amp a month.
"We will hold a meeting next Tuesday to discuss the high price of electricity by (private) generators and find new solutions and mechanisms for the problem," Emad Daham, head of the Kirkuk governor's advisory board, said a news conference Sunday.
"The governor will instruct the Kirkuk municipality to announce in a public auction that anyone who is able to install a generator is welcomed, provided that the price of each amp is less than 45 dinars per hour," he added.
"After creating competitive opportunities, then the Kirkuk administration will assist the person in providing and renting a site to install private generators.”
Early August, residents of Kirkuk have been complaining for a week about the deteriorating electricity situation and the decrease in the number of hours of supplying national electricity which led to concerns of an increase in the fees of power supplied by private generators.
According to the follow-ups of (KirkukNow) correspondent in different neighborhoods and regions of Kirkuk province, citizens were receiving national electricity for six to seven hours a day from the beginning of scorching August, while it used to reach 10 hours and sometimes more.
Kirkuk governorate needs more than a thousand megawatts daily to secure the electricity needs of its residents while it is receiving half of the demanded power. The governorate administration relies on 733 private diesel generators to make up for the shortfall in hours of supplying national electricity.
Emad Daham, in a press confeence, announced new measure to lower costs of power provided by generators
"The reason for the high price of electricity is that the national electricity is not as necessary and we have to rely on private generators, which has caused the high price of electricity generators,” Daham said. “Besides, Kirkuk does not receive necessary (state-subsidized) diesel for private generators.”
However, he said that currently (for October), the national electricity has increased to 19 hours a day. "For next month, the price of generator amperes will definitely be much lower,” in reference to moderate weather during which less power is consumed for colling by Kirkuk residents.
Owners of private generators organized several protest gatherings saying the portions they are supplied with from public petrol stations is sufficient to operate their generators for 110 hours per month, while providing citizens with electricity for over 200 hours.
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.
Few years later, the local authorities gave permission to installation of private diesel generators in the residential neighborhoods to provide power and fill in the national power outage as it could provide only half of the demand on national network of state-subsidized electricity.
The cost of the power provided by private generators is couple of times double of power provided by the state thus people are obliged to consume as less as possible during national power outage in order to pay less for private generators.
Iraq's electricity ministry has cited a number of causes for the prolonged and widespread cuts including sabotage attacks, shortages of fuel for power stations, and lack of budget for periodical maintenance.