Iraqi cabinet allocates $400 million to fuel generators in Baghdad

Government initiatives are trying to ease power outages across the county. [Saad Shalash / Reuters]

Government initiatives are trying to ease power outages across the county. [Saad Shalash / Reuters]

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The Iraqi cabinet allocated $400 million on Wednesday (May 25th) to cover the cost of supplying private and government generator operators in Baghdad with free fuel.

Each generator operator will receive 30 liters of diesel fuel per day for every kilovolt produced. The cabinet, however, said the operators had to provide electricity for at least 12 hours a day, with the price per ampere to be decided later by the Baghdad Provincial Council.

A statement released by Ali al-Dabbagh, minister of state and the official spokesman of the Iraqi government, said the provincial council will monitor the supply and distribution of fuel to ensure it is only being used to generate electric power.

The new system will go into effect at the beginning of July.

For many years, Iraqi citizens in all provinces have depended on privately owned generators to supply their households with electricity. In addition to being costly, these generators do not provide enough power to operate all the necessary household appliances, such as refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioning units.

In April, the Iraqi government started distributing electric generators to a number of residential neighborhoods in the capital to help provide additional sources of energy during the summer season.

The generators were received by contractors under certain instructions and guidelines: the number of subscribers to any one generator should be at least 150, and the generated power should be sold to the residents at no more than 7,000 dinars per ampere.

Operators of both government and privately owned generators -- estimated at around 7,000 in Baghdad alone -- used to receive 20 liters of free diesel fuel from the government for every kilovolt produced. Provincial council member Ghalib al-Zamily and the deputy chairman of the council's energy committee said officials visited generator operators to see what obstacles they are facing.

''We paid a visit to the central refineries company, and the oil products distribution company, and saw how work was going on in order to provide the fuel for the generator operators. Out of those visits and the follow up, the idea for the project was sent to the cabinet, which approved it," al-Zamily told Mawtani.

The cabinet reached an agreement with the central refineries company to supply operators with the lubricating engine oil free of charge.

''The number of hours of supply will be increased while the price of amperes will decrease because we have provided all these resources to the generator owners. The ampere price will be decided through the lists which will be submitted through the municipality and the local councils,'' al-Zamily said.

Kassim Mohammad, the secretary to the parliamentary oil and energy committee, said, ''The decision by the cabinet to support generator operators is important and comes at a vital time to ease the hardship of citizens resulting from the power shortage.''

''It is our duty as responsible offices to do all we can to provide services to citizens, including electric energy; even so, we have not done enough for the people,'' Mohammad told Mawtani.

A number of generators operators in Baghdad said the new plan would help increase the number of hours that electric power is supplied to citizens.

Ahmad Muslih, a generator owner in the Dora area, said, ''This increase would help a great deal in easing the burden of the fuel cost, which would then lead to easing the citizens' hardship by increasing the hours of supply.''

Salman al-Jubouri, 44, a resident of the Mechanics neighborhood, said, ''Such projects and decisions would ease much of our hardship, and it is also a proof of the officials concern over the services provided to citizens.''

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  • READER COMMENTS

    سرور اسراء

    2013-5-19

    I want gasoline for free.

  • يوسف عبدالرحيم

    2011-6-24

    We are suffering greatly from the issue of electricity and the spread of generators in the streets of the capital Baghdad in an unreasonable way. This is not the end, because we still suffer from manipulation by the owners of these generators, due to the absence of monitoring. The state declares that it gives the required quantities of fuel to the owners of those generators, but they deny this and say they buy it on the black market, and therefore they ask us to pay increased prices. All this falls on the shoulders of the citizens, who are forced to bear the costs because we do not have any other solution. The government must provide the required quantities of fuel for the generators' owners in order not to give them the opportunity to exploit the situation. There must be offices for complaints against these owners if they want to make use of the citizens because we pay money monthly to share in those generators, and sometimes they are not operational on the pretext that the owners cannot get their share of fuel, and they are forced to turn them off. The truth remains buried and we do not know whether the owners trade with their share of fuel; in other words, they may save some fuel and sell the rest to earn more money, or perhaps the state really does not provide sufficient quantities to them. If the state would solve the problem of electricity in general, aside from the issue of these generators, the situation would be much better.

  • عوني فاروق

    2011-6-23

    The Iraqi people are suffering a great deal from the shortfall in the supply of electrical power to their homes, and they also suffer because of the generators that the citizens buy and then sell lines to the houses, as a result of the rising prices of amperes sold to the citizens. This happened as a result of the increase in the price of fuel, which runs the generators. The people living in my area, Saidiya, suffer from the increase of fuel prices as well as electricity lines, especially because we are in the summer season and the rate of buying lines increases, as the citizen needs electrical power to be available inside his house, in spite of the high prices, the negligence and the failure of the specialists in the Ministry of Electricity. It is considered its duty to provide electrical power to the Iraqi citizen, but what actually happens is negligence and disregard of this requirement, and the citizen faces difficulty in getting electricity for himself, and he has to get electrical power by buying the electrical lines as well as paying for the networks of national electricity that do not exist. Where can the Iraqi citizen go to complain and find a solution, so as to enjoy the comfort or enjoy the existence of the electrical power, which becomes a heavy burden on the Iraqi citizen who does not know where to go and to whom he can complain? Therefore, working on providing electrical power will save the Iraqi people from this great worry and will make them feel comfortable; it is very important that the Ministry of Electricity work on providing the electrical power.

  • لوي جميل

    2011-6-22

    I am an Iraqi citizen and I would like to call on the Minister of Electricity to resign immediately and hand over his responsibilities, because he did not work to fulfill the promises he made to the Iraqi people. He did not provide electric power, and what happened was the theft of the money of the Iraqi people who were promised electric power through large generators that would provide electrical power for the people. This was months ago, and nothing has happened and no promises have been fulfilled. There is a lot of money that has been stolen, as if it had been paid for purchasing generators. But unfortunately, we got nothing. This minister should be brought to trial and held accountable for returning all the amounts that have been stolen, because this money is the Iraqi people's money that is allocated for providing electrical power.

  • عبدالفتاح مرزوق

    2011-6-21

    I live in the Al-Furat district in Baghdad. We are suffering greatly from the lack of national electricity. Thus, the citizens have resorted to subscribing to the generators that are installed in the streets. This is in order to obtain five amperes of electricity to run the important and necessary things. However, the owners of these generators have exploited us, especially in the absence of governmental control. Thus, they have increased the price of the ampere every time and they have pretended that there is no fuel and that they have been obliged to buy it on the so-called black market. I would like to ask the government: is this true? We all know from the government’s statements that it has provided fuel for the generators’ owners, and that they must just come to receive their shares. However, the generators’ owners say that they haven’t gotten fuel from the government. Thus, the simple citizen is still suffering from this eternal problem of electricity.

  • رياض علي

    2011-6-19

    Our suffering from the problem of electrical generators is beyond description. I live in the Bayâa area. This residential area and all its inhabitants are living a daily tragedy because of electricity and its continuous interruption for hours during the day. Besides, we suffer from the personal generators that we have at home. The generator owners complain about not being provided with gas. This obliges many of them to buy it on the black market at high prices. This has bad repercussions on the inhabitants of our region, due to the increase in the price of electric power supply by the owners of these generators. Besides, they reduce their daily operating hours, in order to cut down on kerosene consumption. And this of course affects our comfort. The issue of kerosene and its provision for generators has become one of the problems that all people suffer from. And we cannot find suitable solutions to this problem. We are obliged to accept this bitter reality, which has prevented us from enjoying our leisure time, mainly as we are in summer now. In fact, we cannot bear this season without having electrical power at home. I think that the issue of electricity generators has become a major and thorny problem. How long will we rely on generators, and how long will Iraqis remain without electricity? It is one of the most basic amenities that must be provided, as there are many patients among us. So, why aren’t the generator owners supplied with sufficient amounts of kerosene?

  • ابو احمد

    2011-6-18

    There are a lot of problems in our neighborhood, but the problem of electricity generators remains one of the biggest problems we have suffered from over the years. We, the inhabitants of the area of Ghazaliya in Baghdad, suffer, like other areas, from the continued outages of electricity from the national network, which has forced us to subscribe to private generators after the government generators disappeared from our region, although the Baghdad Provincial Council had promised to provide us with them. Many owners of private generators complain that they are not provided with kerosene, forcing them to buy kerosene on the black market, and this has a lot of negative effects on the inhabitants of our region, because the owners of the generators have significantly raised the price of the electric ampere, and we cannot afford this. It costs us a lot of money each month, and many of us are low-income people, but we are forced to pay to avoid the extreme heat, especially as we are now in the summer, and we cannot bear the heat and we have sick people who cannot afford it. The problem of generators and the Ministry of Oil’s failure to provide kerosene has become the main concern for us, and we hope that they provide these generators with kerosene in order to reduce the prices of our subscription to these generators. We do not believe there is any solution but to remain at the mercy of their owners, who do not know mercy and are only interested in exploiting the citizens, because they know how much we need electricity.

  • عمر حسيب

    2011-6-18

    Most of the generator owners in Iraq are currently suffering from the lack of local government cooperation, particularly in terms of providing the required fuel to operate the generators, so as to supply enough electricity to meet citizens’ demands for electricity, despite the fact that Iraq is a country rich in fuel resources. In fact, the honorable Iraqi government has failed to provide electricity for Iraqis since 2003, because it has been too busy insuring its own wealth by looting the money of Iraq without caring for Iraqis, who are suffering from darkness and extreme heat that is likely to kill them, in addition to sand storms that hit the country from time to time and claim the lives of many sons of Iraq, because of the suffocation they cause. Nowadays, people’s attention is directed to the owners of privately owned generators, and they are afraid that they will not operate, since their lives depend on these generators. In fact, if these generators do not work, people will collapse psychologically and go almost insane. Thus, electrical power has become even more important than food, water and medicines for Iraqis. As a matter of fact, we would like to remind the Iraqi government of the requirements of God, who puts them in this position, on them. They should look sympathetically at Iraqi people and provide them with the most basic life necessities, namely the provision of sufficient oil that is required to operate generators, in order to alleviate a part of the suffering and pains of the helpless people.

  • سرحان البدري

    2011-6-18

    Electricity is a big problem in Iraq. In fact, I am one of the citizens of Al-Ghazaliya in Baghdad, and I want to convey a simplified image of the problem of electricity in this city. We are suffering from the high price of fuel, which is necessary for the generators. Thus, the owners of big generators use too much fuel and money. And they are always raising the prices. Besides, the house generators cannot meet the citizens’ requirements because there is not enough fuel. In fact, we citizens of Al-Ghazaliya are among the most affected people in Iraq, due to the problem of electricity and due to the huge generators. This is in addition to the problem of the high price of fuel. Thus, we would like to ask the officials to do something about our situation. In fact, Iraq has suffered from the problem of electricity from the north to the south. I would like to ask the officials: How long will this situation continue? Iraq is among the richest countries, thanks to its oil and fuel. However, it is suffering from poverty, ignorance, illness, the electricity shortage and a lack of fuel. How long will our situation remain like this? We need to reconstruct Iraq in order to make it much better than before. We want the Iraqi government to distribute fuel and oil in an equal way. Besides, it must buy them at suitable prices, in order to avoid problems. I wish all the best for Iraq from the north to the south.

  • فراس شريف

    2011-6-15

    This is a time when Iraqi citizens are suffering from many interruptions in the power supply by the Ministry of Electricity, which was incapable of honoring the promises that it had made, and which it had announced a long time ago, that it would provide electricity for 16 hours per day, in order to ease the difficulties and hardships endured by the citizens, who have been suffering from power cuts for more than eight years up until now. We are still living in this nightmare, as the citizens have become totally dependent on the power generators of the private sector in Iraq, which are plagued with many problems, as the owners of these generators claim that today they are experiencing shortages in the fuel that is allocated to them by the government, and that it is with much difficulty that they can obtain it, after endless bureaucracy and official procedures, in addition to having to pay fees and bribes, and standing for long hours in order to obtain the documents, and then proceed to the gas station in order to obtain the delivery date for the specified amount of fuel. This has prompted the owners of these generators to buy fuel on the black market, because it is available in abundance, but the price is high, which in turn leads to the citizens having to pay higher prices. They are the only ones that are affected by this whole operation, because no citizen is able to say no to the owners of the generators, especially since these days we are in the extremely hot summer season, and the national electricity is unavailable.

  • يعقوب

    2011-6-12

    Many of the citizens of Iraq suffer from the problems of generators that provide electrical power and the difficulty of obtaining the fuel that is used to operate them in order to supply their homes with power. The competent authorities, such as the Ministry of Electricity and the Oil Ministry, should provide assistance to the people of Iraq and facilitate their lives by providing fuel to all citizens at lower prices. They should also work hard to provide electrical power to relieve the suffering of the Iraqi citizens, especially during the summer. This affects the psyche of the Iraqi citizens and causes them fatigue and nervousness, which have a negative impact on their life and work. I believe electricity has a significant impact on the psyche of the Iraqi citizens, who face a lot of problems in their lives. They are in need of work and money in order to provide the needs of their families, and one of the pressures faced by the Iraqi citizens is the problem of electricity and the lack of fuel. All this needs money, and what we find is that the majority of citizens are suffering from unemployment and the lack of money. Therefore, it is the duty of the government to take serious and real actions on the ground, and not just make promises, because the citizens will no longer accept any promises about improving the reality of electricity, while they do not see any achievements. This issue has exhausted the Iraqi citizens, and they no longer believe the promises made by the government, because they hear that the government has purchased large power plants for electrical power and has allocated a lot of money for the purchase of new power plants to serve the citizens, but the people do not see anything on the ground except these words from the specialists in the field of electricity, which has become a concern for everyone.

  • احمد بو زين

    2011-6-12

    The problem of generators is among the most important problems experienced by all the Iraqi people. It is one of the problems which we suffer from, and it has become worse since the increase in the hours of programmed outages of the national network of electricity, which provides citizens with a few hours, but does not meet the needs of the Iraqi family or contribute to providing comfort to it. As a result, the citizens began to depend on privately owned generators, as is happening in our region in the capital of Baghdad, which mainly depends on electricity from privately owned generators. These generators have caused us a lot of problems because of the high price of electricity, which costs us a lot of money. Moreover, we are also suffering from these generators, because their owners complain that they are also suffering from the problem of fuel shortages. Many of them claim that they do not get enough kerosene from the state to continue providing electricity to the citizens, especially in the summer. The inability to supply these generators with kerosene causes us a lot of harm. In addition to higher prices, there is the problem of the limited hours of electricity provided to us by the owners of these generators. There is no method by which to control those owners by the authorities in charge, and this problem has become very serious.

  • حسان علوان

    2011-6-11

    Many of the people of Baghdad started suffering from the limited time that the generators operate, which distribute lines among citizens and deliver electrical power to their houses. In addition to that, citizens who have generators in their houses suffer from the quick consumption of fuel. This is because citizens always need electrical power, especially since it is burning, hot summer, which makes those citizens consume fuel in a great and quick way. In return, citizens are suffering from the increase in the price of fuel which feeds generators in order for them to work. This of course needs money; and money requires people to be working and work opportunities are not available, as everyone is suffering from unemployment. What is the solution to some of these problems? Electrical power must be provided in order for Iraqi citizens not to be occupied with other things, like work, for example, which is considered unnecessary when electrical power is available in their homes and they can live in the comfort of the air conditioning, watching TV and eating delicious meals. In this case, they won’t need to expose themselves to the suffering of bringing in fuel and buying it at an expensive price. Consequently, they won’t need money, Ministry of Electricity. It is enough for us citizens that you enjoy the resources of Iraq while we only enjoy air conditioning. Where is the electricity, Ministry of Electricity? Weren’t the false promises enough? Where does the money go that is said to be spent to buy huge generators to feed all of Iraq from north to south and from east to west, while Baghdad is suffering from the extinction of electrical power?

  • عادل باسل

    2011-6-9

    It is well known that Iraq has been suffering from a severe shortage in the provision of power to the citizens since 2003. In fact, the successive governments that ruled Iraq over this period have failed to carry out any of the services that are related to the daily life of Iraqi citizens. Chief among these is electricity, which is the cornerstone of human life, since it is essential for household, human, medical, and different industries, in addition to its importance in providing and spreading security in the country. Whoever looks at Iraqi cities today perceives that they are very similar to a very dark desert, because of the lack of electricity. In fact, the government has failed to offer this service to citizens despite the astronomical amounts of money in the Iraqi treasury, due to the high economic position of Iraq, which enjoys huge exports of the oil that fills all its territories. As a result, the private sector in Iraq has started to import generators. The latter exist at very high prices that are not commensurate with Iraqi citizens’ purchasing power. Nevertheless, people started to buy electricity from the private sector by altering their consumer habits in order to be able to afford power. Still more, citizens are always surprised by the continuous price increases of electricity which are imposed by the owners of generators. The latter, meanwhile, are complaining about the shortage of fuel provided by the government and used to activate generators. Consequently, generator owners are forced to buy fuel on the black market at very high prices. Such prices have negative effects on consumers.