Rudaw

  In Rudaw 

There are no quick solutions to the electricity problem: PM Kadhimi

The Iraqi Prime Minister visited the electricity ministry on Saturday, saying “there are no quick solutions to the electricity problem” in Iraq as the country suffers from rising summer temperatures and terrorist attacks on infrastructure.

“There are no quick solutions to the electricity problem, but we are trying to carry out the procedures and solutions in the fastest possible way,” PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi said.

The Prime Minister’s visit to the electricity ministry comes at a time when the industry has been battered by rising temperatures and terrorist attacks on power lines.

Iraq suffers from chronic electricity shortages, especially felt when summer temperatures reach over 50 degrees Celsius, caused by multiple factors, including poor government delivery of services, rampant corruption, terror attacks on the power grid, and Iran’s recent cuts of electricity and gas exports because of unpaid bills.

Recent attacks on electricity pylons contributed to a blackout that left millions in central and southern Iraq without power during a heatwave.

PM Kadhimi also criticized those who take advantage of the electricity sector.

“Whoever has abused the energy sector through corruption, negligence, or political bargaining over the years, their action is no different from what terrorism is doing today by targeting energy transmission lines,” he said.

The Islamic State group (ISIS) claimed dozens of attacks on Iraq’s electricity grid and threatened other vital infrastructure in its weekly propaganda magazine al-Nabaa, published Thursday.

ISIS claimed it destroyed 68 electricity towers in cities across Iraq, mainly in areas disputed between Erbil and Baghdad, as well as in the north and west.

On Sunday, a military spokesperson said at least 44 electricity pylons have been targets of recent terror attacks. Security forces in Diyala province killed one suspected terrorist as he was trying to blow up electricity pylons on Monday.

“ISIS terrorist organization seeks to create panic through targeting these power lines,” Major General Tahsin al-Khafaji told state media on Sunday.

However, Kadhimi reiterated that the government’s work to develop the energy sector will continue.

“Our work on the energy sector and its development will not stop, and we are working on a strategic plan that we will establish according to realistic studies to maintain electricity as a continuous service for citizens,” he said.