Al-Kazemi's electricity crisis is one of the most important challenges facing the Iraqi government



Researcher Shatha Khalil *

Iraq has been suffering from a shortage of electrical energy supplies since 1990, after the United Nations imposed a blockade on Iraq, and the problem worsened after 2003, and hours of power outages increased to about twenty hours per day. Despite being one of the most important oil producing countries, investmentin the electricity sector has not received due attention from successive Iraqi governments since 2003.
The electrical energy system in Iraq is non-existent, worn out and unable to meet the needs of citizens as the electricity cut off reached more than 16 hours a day, temperatures are recorded in various Iraqi cities, record rates, approaching fifty degrees Celsius, with the continued enforcement of the Iraqi authorities' curfew The closure is almost complete, in order to face the spread of the Corona virus, and the population depends on securing the electrical current, on private generators, which sell power units according to the “amp” system, at 15 thousand dinars per ampere (about 12 dollars), which constitutes an additional material burden on the population. Some of them were unable to pay the costs of electricity to the owners of the generators, which led to cut the electricity to them.
The electricity crisis is renewed for the life and health of most Iraqis, and there is no solution near or far for many years.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kazemi confirmed that failure to address the country's electricity crisis is due to corruption, financial waste, and mismanagement, especially the economic and financial circumstance that passes on the country from the collapse of oil prices globally as a result of the effects of the Corona pandemic.
Al-Kazemi said that the electricity file is one of the most important challenges facing the work of the current government, noting that the past periods witnessed spending billions of dollars on this sector, it was sufficient to build modern electrical networks, but corruption, financial waste and mismanagement prevented the treatment of the crisis, where he ordered:
• The investigation of contracts concluded by the Ministry of Electricity for the 14 years, following the decline in energy supplies in the country. This committee, which is chaired by Hassan al-Kaabi, deputy speaker of parliament, has the task of checking and investigating the contracts of the Ministry of Electricity from 2006 to 2020, according to an official document issued by parliament speaker Muhammad al-Halbousi and published by the Iraqi News Agency. The document added that "the formation of the committee comes in order to identify the reasons for the lack of clear progress in the sector and to hold accountable the neglected, following the continuous deterioration in the electrical system, the accumulated failures throughout the previous years, and the existence of administrative and financial suspicions of corruption."
• He ordered activation of all electricity projects in his country, foremost of which is the agreement concluded with the German company Siemens.
• The government is determined to address this file by implementing plans to develop production sectors, as well as standing at the joints that stand in the way of advancing the reality of electricity, and blocking all the outlets of corruption in this vital vital sector.
• Directed the Ministry of Oil to provide fuel for free to owners of private generators, in exchange for lower subscription rates and increased processing hours.
The production of electrical energy in Iraq is approximately 18,000 MW / hour, while the consumption volume is 23,000 MW; A deficit of 4,000 megawatts, while a thousand megawatts are imported from Iran.
Al-Kazemi’s government also decided to pursue a policy of diversifying alliances, especially in the field of energy, after its predecessors confined themselves to Iran.
Where Baghdad announced last month an agreement to activate the electrical connection with Saudi Arabia, and to develop the energy market in addition to investment and participation in financing projects for the generation, transmission and distribution of electrical energy (renewable and conventional) in Iraq.
Interconnection with the Arab Gulf states:
The 500-megawatt phase is expected to be connected with the Gulf Cooperation Council’s Electric Linkage Authority to supply the southern regions, to fill part of the deficit in the production of electrical current.
An official at the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity said that Iraq has completed all transmission lines, as well as the transportation networks for the Gulf link, and that “Iraq’s signature with the Gulf Linkage Authority states that the power transmission networks will be connected through Kuwaiti and Saudi lands through the southern provinces, especially Basra Governorate, but The repercussions of the health and economic situation have delayed work. ”The agreement stipulates that the electrical connection be with all the Arab Gulf states.
The Iraqi Ministry of Electricity had indicated that "the Gulf Linkage Authority will bear the cost of constructing the two lines, which will be of length (300 km), divided between two distances, inside Iraq (80 km), and within the State of Kuwait (220 km), will be linked to the Iraqi national system, (Al-Fao transformational station) (400 kV), on the one hand, and it is an extension of the basic line of the Gulf connection from the other side, and with the same technical specifications, specified (1800 MVA), and it is hoped to import (500) megawatts, as a first stage, to be prepared after The completion of the two lines before the summer of 2020, and at competitive Gulf market prices, which will be differentiated after completion.
Finally, the crisis faced by the Iraqis remains summer every year, despite the billions being spent on the electricity sector to no avail, and because of Iran's monopoly on exporting electricity to Iraq and the obstruction of American companies operating in Iraq, projects of other international companies.
The wrong policy adopted, related to corruption, financial waste, contracts, and the import of electrical energy from gas for power stations, is one of the most important obstacles to ending the crisis, because Iraq has all the options that are supposed to be properly planned to live without crises.

Economic Studies Unit,
Links Center for Research and Strategic Studies