Tuzkhurmatu: Private generators appeal for subsidize diesel, raise of fees

Salahaddin, July 2022: Owners of a number of private generators in the center of Tuzkhurmatu district claim subsidized diesel inadequate, calling for higher portions or increase of charges. KirkukNow

By Laila Ahmed in Salahaddin

Most of the owners of the private diesel power generators in Tuzkhurmatu district of Salahaddin province have threatened to increase the monthly price of electricity they provide to the locals if their demands for bigger portion of subsidized diesel are not met.

The main demands of the generator owners are to increase the diesel quota supplied by the government for lower costs compared to the diesel they purchase from private petrol stations and change the distribution method, otherwise they will raise the fees of electricity hours they provide.

They have submitted a letter on July 25, 2022 to the local administration of Tuzkhurmatu, vowing shutdown if the problem is not addressed

Ari Sirwan, owner of a private generator in the Komari neighborhood of Tuzkhurmatu, told KirkukNow, “The price of each ampere of electricity set by the government is low.”

The price of each ampere of electricity provided by private generator in Tuzkhurmatu is between 12,000 to 13,000 Iraqi dinars IQD (8-9USD) and demand to increase to 16,000-18,000, according to the hours of electricity they generate.

Government diesel is supplied to private generators at a price of 400 to 450 dinars per liter, according to official coupons, while the price of each liter in the market reaches 1,000 dinars.

If we get an increase in diesel quota, we will not increase electricity prices

There are more than 75 private generators in Tuzkhurmatu, more than half of which are located in the neighborhoods of the Komari, Brayati, Askari and several other areas are threatening to increase electricity prices.

The owners of the generators are protesting in several neighborhoods not all as the national power is on for 10 hours only a day in some neighborhoods while other neighborhoods get longer hours.

The owners of the generators protested during the visit of Salahaddin Governor Ismail Haloub to the district before submitting their demands to the mayor office.

“We have repeatedly demanded the implementation of our demands and there has been no result, so we organized a rally on the way upon the governor's arrival,” Ari said.

The owners vowed if one of the two demands to increase diesel quota or increase electricity prices is not implemented, they plan to charge more next month.

Sirwan says that even if the price is increased, they will have no profits. He said that has lost more than a million dinars last month because the government's diesel quota is not enough for them and the price of diesel is up at private petrol stations.

I am in debt and cannot continue running my generator

"I don't have diesel to provide electricity to the citizens in July, which is very hot, and I owe 12 million dinars to diesel supplier, which is a huge loss and thus I cannot continue to operate my generator," said Esam Salhaddin, a generator owner.

He demanded necessary diesel to operate the generators, so as not to have to increase electricity prices, which people cannot afford.

Following gulf war in 1991, the Iraqi state infrastructure was sharply hit by the economic embargo on Saddam Hussein regime due to damage of many transmission lines and substations leaving the basic services provided by the state inadequate.

Beside the national network of state-subsidized electricity supply all over Iraq, residential units and business projects rely on private generators for power supply to fill the gap of national power outage.

A local official said he has addressed the governor to address this sensitive issue in the blazing summer.

Hassan Zain al-Abdin, mayor of Tuzkhurmatu district, said he has submitted the demands of the owners of the generators to the governor of Salahaddin.

According to the owners of the generators, the diesel they receive from the government at a lower price than the market covers only a week.

Zain al-Abdin explained that some of the proposals will be determined as new generators should be registered in order to receive state-subsidized diesel while those whose generators are more than 100 KV to receive 25 liters of diesel for each KV.

"The owners of the generators have their rights because they are given less diesel and have repeatedly conveyed their demands to us, but the decision is within the authority of the ministry and the provincial administration, so we are waiting for their response," he added.

Tuzkhurmatu district is the only disputed area between Baghdad and Erbil in Salahaddin province. The town is home to over 150,000 people, more than 125,000 of whom live in the center of the district, mainly Turkmens, Kurds and Arabs, according to estimates for 2019.

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