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Iraq hopes to plug power gap in 2013: deputy PM
BAGHDAD, April 2 (BSS/AFP) - Iraq hopes to plug its electricity shortage by the end of next year and will supply private generator operators with fuel this summer to address the shortfall, its top energy official said yesterday.

Contracts signed to ramp up electricity supply will increase
Iraq's domestic production to around 20,000 megawatts, against
expected demand at the end of 2013 of about 15,000 megawatts,
Deputy Prime Minister for Energy Affairs Hussein al-Shahristani

"By the summer, we should be able to supply the network by
9,000 megawatts," he told AFP in an interview in his office in
Baghdad's heavily- fortified Green Zone. "The demand is about
14,000 megawatts, so there is a shortage of 5,000 megawatts."

"We hope before the end of 2013, our total production would
reach almost 20,000 megawatts ... so we should be able to meet
all the demand in the country," he said.

Shahristani said at that point, Iraq would stop importing

"On the contrary, we'll be looking for export markets by
then," he said.

The deputy premier noted, however, that Iraq would once
again have to supply private generator operators with fuel to
force them to sell power at cut- price rates during Iraq's
boiling summer, after a $400-million programme to do so last year
was "really quite successful."

"The shortfall would be met by local private generators who
are going to be supplied by fuel and expected to produce the
difference between the demand and supply, and make it available
to the people at a fixed price as we did last year," Shahristani

He said the plan would cost less than last year, but did not
give a specific estimate.

Nine years after the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam
Hussein, Iraq still suffers from a severe shortage of

Iraqis are left with the choice of having only a few hours
of electricity per day in a country where temperatures top 50
degrees in the summer, or getting extra power from private
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