East Mosul in the dark after ISIS cut national electricity grid3/2/2017
MOSUL, Iraq – After losing control over the eastern half of Mosul, ISIS has cut off the national power grid to the liberated areas, leaving locals to depend on private generators that currently provide only seven hours of electricity at a price of about $10 per ampere, too expensive for some to afford.
Climbing a utility pole in Karama district, Mofaq Amir is busy trying to find the thin cable to his house among a network of dozens of similar lines. He is trying to reconnect the electricity after it was cut during fighting between Iraqi security forces and ISIS.
Amir is worried about the high cost of buying electricity from the local generators. “Too expensive,” he said, complaining that ISIS cut the national grid as they lost half of the city.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told reporters last Tuesday that the government is trying to solve the issue. He confirmed that the national grid is delivered to the liberated areas in Mosul from the western half, currently under full control of the extremist group.
For local generators though, the concern is that there are not enough consumers. There is not much they can do to bring down costs, though, because fuel is expensive.
“I am providing seven hours of electricity a day. My generator has the capacity of 1,200 amperes, but currently I have sold only 500 amperes,” said Ahmad Mohammad who runs one of the generators in Bakir district.
According to figures from the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity, there are 24 power stations in the eastern half, three of which have gone out of service completely. It will cost the government about $30 million to rebuild these power stations, the ministry said.
Some are also running small generators in their own homes, either because they are not plugged into the main generators yet or in order to supplement the seven hours of electricity received.
Khalid Hussein is a generator mechanic. He said that his business is booming, but even he has complaints about the lack of electricity.
“The situation is very bad now because of lack of the national grid. That is why the people have turned to repairing their small generators... I am now repairing about six to ten generators a day.”
The generators provide power from 2:00 to 9:00 pm every day, leaving the city dark for most of the night.
Iraqi and Kurdish security forces, supported by the US-led international coalition, launched a military offensive to recapture Mosul from ISIS on October 17. Abadi announced the full liberation the left coast late January, located to the east of the Tigris River that bisects the city, vowing to unite it with the right coast as soon as possible.