Iraq’s capital, Baghdad, home to more than six million people, hardly gets one hour of non-interrupted electricity supplies every 24 hours.

The city has plunged into darkness with the country’s national grid still unable to increase supplies despite billions of dollars in investments.Seven years after the 2003-U.S. invasion, power production in the country is still below levels reached under former leader Saddam Hussein.

Prior to his downfall, Baghdad used to have up to 18 hours of electricity supplies a day.Residents are furious but can do nothing in a country where issues of personal security take precedence over anything else.Karim Zamel said there was no way for Iraqis to believe any promises from the government."Government officials have bombarded us with promises as if the country would soon starting exporting electricity to neighboring states," he said.

He said like almost everything in Iraq, electricity conditions have been worsening and the current situation is totally opposite what the government says.Tayeba Jabbar said there was nothing to feel "optimistic" about in Iraq. "When you get electricity for just one hour a day, how could you have any trust in your government."

Many Iraqis turn to the private sector and purchase electricity form owners of small generators in their neighborhoods. But the electricity from these generators is only used for lighting and is not strong enough to operate gadgets like refrigerators, heaters or coolers.Sameer Qassab said private electricity entrepreneurs charge exorbitant sums of money every month "just to help us turn on our lamps."




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