Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Protest in Mawat District over Electricity Shortages, Unemployment

Angry with the limited number of hours of electricity provided on the national grid, residents in Sulaimani’s Mawat district protested in front of the local electricity station on Monday, blocking the Sulaimani-Mawat main road.

One of the protesters said that officials had promised to install a 20-ampere circuit breaker in the district, which would have provided 20 hours of electricity per day, but the decision to do so was never implemented.

Without electricity, residents normally turn to oil or gas heating, but residents said that the government has not yet delivered wintertime oil supplies. The cost of propane gas also recently rose by 1,000 Iraqi dinars ($0.68) per bottle.

The protesters frustration was not contained just to electricity and heating, decrying the lack of job opportunities for young people in Mawat.

Another protester said that youth cannot find jobs unless they have family connections with members of the Kurdistan Region's ruling parties. He called on the government to provide more jobs in the area and to do so without partisan considerations.

Sulaimani General Electricity Directorate said on December 30 that the number of hours of electricity it is able to provide will drop to between eight and nine hours per day because of increased wintertime demand, though in reality it provides even less.

Blackouts are common in the Kurdistan Region, with government provided electricity available for only about half the day at the best of times. Those who can afford it rely on private generators in their neighborhoods to fill in the gaps.