ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s electricity ministry said on Friday that the portion of the national power supplied by Iran had been cut off due to funds owed by Baghdad, and that the decision would exacerbate the yearly shortages experienced in the hot summer months.
Ministry Spokesperson Mosaab al-Madras was quoted by the Anadolu Agency as saying that Iraq's rising debt to its neighbor was the reason for Iran's recent action. He did not specify the amount owed.
"The Ministry of Electricity calls on citizens to increase the rationalization of electricity consumption to reduce the burden of the electrical system due to the suspension of the processing of electric power from the Islamic Republic of Iran, [a] capacity of (1000) megawatts," read a statement released earlier on the ministry's website.
It continued by saying the move "directly and negatively affected the number of hours of processing," in the southern provinces of Basra, Nasiriyah, and Amara.
Rising temperatures in the country lead to increased air conditioning usage, putting extra strain on the nation's beleaguered power infrastructure. Electricity cuts have been frequent in Iraq as the national system is unable to provide the required amount of energy in times of extreme heat, notably in the three provinces named by the ministry, where protests against power shortages are common.
According to the electricity ministry, Iraq produces 15,700 megawatts of electricity, but needs more than 23,000 to ensure nonstop supply to residents and institutions.
"Work is underway," said the statement, "in coordination with the Iranian side, to bring these lines back to operation."