"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Iraq's power grid has collapsed

Whilst the Press fills the pages with UK soldiers dying it remains largely blissfully ignorant of what life is like for the man in the street in Iraq after 4 years of occupation and brutal repression.

Electricity Ministry spokesman Aziz al-Shimari is quoted (4th August)saying the national power generation is only meeting half the demand, and there had been four nationwide blackouts over the past two days - with daytime temperatures hitting 120 degrees.

Baghdad has had sporadic electricity supplies all summer - now down to just a few hours a day, if that. This has also affected electrically powered pumps in water and sewage stations. There are 17 high-tension lines running into Baghdad but only two are operational. and the remaining lines have been sabotaged.

Provincial spokesman Ghalib al-Daami in Karbala the Shiite holy city reports that a 50-MW power station had been shut down because of a lack of fuel, causing the entire province to be without water and electricity for the past three days. To add to the problems (remembering the heat)sewage is rising above ground in nearly half the provincial capital because pump trucks used to clean septic tanks have been unable to operate due to gasoline shortages. The raw sewerage is a health threat and contaminates local crops.

The Iraqi National Grid worsens daily as provinces disconnect their power plants, reducing overall supply making load balancing a major problem and forcing more shutdowns.

"Many southern provinces such as Basra, Diwaniyah, Nassiriyah, Babil have disconnected their power plants from the national grid. Northern provinces, including Kurdistan, are doing the same," al-Shimari said. "We have absolutely no control over some areas in the south," he added.

"The national grid will collapse if the provinces do not abide by rules regarding their share of electricity. Everybody will lose and there will be no electricity winner," al-Shimari said.

Najaf provincial spokesman Ahmed Deibel confirmed today that the gas turbine generator there had been removed from the national grid. He said the plant produced 50 megawatts while the province needed at least 200 megawatts.

On the street gas (which has to be imported) is now US$5 a gallon and beyond the reach of most to fuel their portable generators. Many people who normally would rely on small home generators for electricity can't afford to buy fuel.

Meanwhile a suicide truck bomber struck Thiraa Dijla bridge in Tajia near a U.S. air base some 12 miles north of the capital, sending cars plunging into the river and killing at least 10 people in the second attack on the span in three months.

The attack came as 16,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops began Operation Lightning Hammer, with an air assault which was was part of a broader U.S. push "to build on successes in Baghdad " ... blah blah ... and boy is it hot out there also see AP video about private power supplies - see pic at top of power wires are strung from private generators.

UPDATE - see article on power problems in LA Times today

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