Insomnia (insomnia) wrote,

As the lights flicker out across Iraq.

There are indications that despite U.S. military assurances, Iraq might be suffering from serious electricity generation problems, and that the power supply for Iraq may be considerably more vulnerable than previously suspected.

The CPA website hasn't released new electricity production reports for several weeks, but the last set of statistics released for the week of May 1st-7th indicates an average production of 3,766 megawatts, a decrease of 7.5% from the previous week. This makes the longstanding goal of generating 6,000 megawatts by June 1st an unattainable goal. In fact, that goal was since moved to June 31st, and now, according to General Kimmitt, is scheduled for "sometime this summer".

To further complicate matters, the Russian company Interenergoservis is withdrawing all of their electrical specialists from Iraq -- several hundred in number -- due to yet another serious attack on its employees. Their workers oversaw the operation and reconstruction of the primary power plant for the Baghdad region, and their loss will be a considerable setback to the nation's electrical production.

Interenergoservis' general director, Alexander Abramov, said that after the first attack on its workers in April, the Iraqi authorities had asked the company to stay, saying that otherwise the country's electricity supplies could face collapse this summer. Work at four power plants that the company was contracted to restore was previously scheduled for completion in mid-June.

When asked about meeting the 6,000 megawatt goal, Anmar al Hassani, an Iraqi engineer working with British, German, Russian and American contractors at a Baghdad powerplant, was skeptical.

"By June 1? Wait, what year are you talking about? June 1 of this year? No way."

Iraq appears to be entering its hot summer months -- the time of year with the greatest demand for power -- with only marginally higher energy production than Iraq had at the end of last summer. Ironically, the fall of Saddam has increased ownership of consumer electronics items amongst Iraq, further exacerbating the problem. It remains to be seen whether electricity production can go up -- or even be maintained at current levels -- under current circumstances.

Mohsen Hassan, head of Iraq's power generation, has already warned of 14-hour power cuts during the summer, when temperatures can exceed 120 degrees fahrenheit/50 degrees celsius. If widespread power cuts materialize, the resulting hardship to the Iraqi people could contribute to more attacks on coalition forces.

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