Iraqi protesters hold a mock-coffin during a demonstration against corruption and poor services, in Karbala. The writing in Arabic reads: “Electricity.”
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Iraq's broken electricity sector is planning a long-awaited overhaul to both meet U.S. pressure to halt Iranian power imports and head off summertime protests over chronic cuts.Iraq pipes in up to 28 million cubic meters of Iranian gas daily to feed its stations, and also directly imports up to 1,300 megawatts of Iranian-produced electricity.Mudarris admitted that while Iraq could do without Iran's electricity, it needed Iranian gas until it could extract its own or capture flares from oil drilling.Bright ideasUsing its own fuel plus Iranian gas, Iraq can produce around 16,000 megawatts of electricity.'Doomed to fail?'Last year, Iraq began privatizing by hiring collection services to ensure households paid power bills.A draft 2019 budget shows Iraq allocating some $800 million for "Iranian gas arrears" and around $350 million for Iranian electricity back pay, according to an IEI analysis.Neighboring Kuwait generates around the same amount of electricity as Iraq, but its ministry employs 12,000 compared with Iraq's roughly 140,000, he said.
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