I Scream, You Scream, We all scream for Ice Cream!

Via Blair and G.A. Cerny we hear of this:

Insurgents are stepping up attacks on Iraq’s fragile infrastructure even as the U.S. pumps in billions of dollars to rebuild it. But with electricity in Baghdad flowing at less than half prewar levels and a scorching summer ahead, many Iraqis see the struggle to ensure adequate power as a metaphor for a U.S.-led reconstruction mission gone bad.

As G.A. Cerny notes, we have been on this beat for some time now. In our most recent post, we noted that the CPA no longer releases electricity production figures, due to “operational security concerns.” Reading articles like the one above, we wonder what kind of “security concerns” prompted this change.

The high point of power production in Baghdad was 1,553MW, on May 15. Even taking half of that leaves electricity production well below Baghdad’s post-war average (1,290MW, with only 7 days since August 1 below 1,000MW.) How good (or bad) are things countrywide? We have no idea. This article offers a few hints, though some of its facts are (demonstrably) wrong (and CPA-friendly:)

After a $1 billion American aid injection, Iraq’s national grid briefly topped prewar levels of 4,400 megawatts in March and averaged about 3,900 megawatts in May. Baghdad’s problem is that American authorities redistributed electricity evenly across the country ? everybody now gets 8-12 hours a day.

The March average was (per the CPA’s data) 4,024MW, with a peak (March 18) of 4,356MW. 4,356 for a day does not “briefly top” 4,400. To its credit, this US News & World Report story gets it very right:

The Coalition Provisional Authority missed its June 1 goal of raising peak generation to 6,000 megawatts from the recent level of about 4,000. Reappointed to the interim government on June 1, Minister of Electricity Aiham al-Sammarae headed home to suburban Chicago, where he owns an electrical engineering consulting firm, and to the United Nations seeking release of money due Iraq under the oil-for-food program. He’s due back in Baghdad this week.

The Star Telegram (AP) story provides more information:

BAGHDAD, Iraq – The Wanna household lives by the timetable of the Baghdad power supply.

Bedtime is around 11 p.m., when the electricity is cut off. It returns at 2 a.m., and the streetlights shine through windows deliberately left uncovered, serving as an alarm clock for Bahija Wanna, the mother. […]

At 7 a.m., as her bank executive husband, her children and much of the rest of Baghdad are rising, the power takes another break, and the house returns to swelter mode. […] Suddenly, at 11 a.m., the fluorescent lights come on, the refrigerator hums to life, and the ceiling fan begins to turn.

Enjoy your summer dear Iraqis.


Comments: 3


Hussein was able to get the power back on after GW I … maybe Bush should hire him as a consultant?


Saddam – he’s tanned, rested and ready!

(he also sure knows how to keep the peace in Iraq!)


Right, Saddam, he’s the man for the job, he’s so great, he had more power on right after the Gulf War then there is now in Iraq… unfortunately he also imprisoned, raped and tortured tens of thousands of people each and every single year since then… oh, and prior to as well. Actually, what i said isn’t totally true, i mean, HE didn’t do those things… he only ordered them as did he sons. Great people. Hussein kept his people down while he lived lavishly. He could have given the Iraqis more but instead chose to make deals with the UN Oil for Food people. Hussein could have simply done certain things to have sanctions against his country lifted… but he didn’t care. Hussein had a chance to be a sane and caring leader… but instead he chose his own personal wealth over the 24 million other people, people within his own borders. So maybe Bush should let him out of prison and give him his old job back with a great big apology and allow him to keep on doing what he had been doing all along…. torturing and killing but hey, he’ll get people some electricity!


(comments are closed)