National power distribution plant down by Thursday fire

Only 10 hours power supply per day in Shingal’s scorcher

Ninewa, August 2022: fire broke out in the electricity distribution station in Shingal (Sinjar) district. Media of Ninewa Civil Defense Directorate

By Ammar Aziz in Ninewa

Thousands of residents of a district for Ninewa province will have to spend 14 hours a day without electricity following the fire at the Shingal power station, and it is not clear when the problem will be addressed.

At about ten o'clock pm (Baghdad time) Thursday, August 4, a fire broke out in the power distribution station in Shingal district (west of Mosul), which led to the interruption of electric power supply to the residents.

"The fire was brought under control in a record time, fortunately there were no casualties, but the fire caused great material damage to the station," said Mirza Shamo, an employee of the Shingal Electricity Department.

The station consists of two large power transformers that connect daily 20 megawatts from Mosul to provide electricity to the residents of the district center and the surrounding areas.

"One of the two transformers was completely burnt out, while the other was severely damaged. After controlling the fire, we started maintenance work, but it is likely that maintenance will take two more days," Shammo told KirkukNow without assuring that the station will resume work during the next two days.

Shammo attributed the cause of the fire to the high temperatures and the heavy load on the electrical transformers, while the Ninewa Civil Defense Directorate indicated in a brief statement that the cause of the fire was due to an electrical circuit.

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 diesel generators for power supply to fill the gap of national power outage.

Ninewa, April 2021: a protest gathering for the people of the village of Siba Sheikh Khidir against the deterioration of public services. KirkukNow

At the present time, citizens are supplied with electricity daily for 10 hours through private generators according to a specific program starting from midday to 4 pm, and then from 7 pm until 12 at night, at a time when temperatures in the district reach more than 45 Celsius degrees.

Luqman Hussein, a resident of the Shingal district center, sad, "I do not expect that the maintenance work of the station will be completed after 10 days, the district was already suffering from the deteriorating electricity situation and now the crisis has worsened, because the private generators do not work around the clock, and we will be deprived of electricity 14 hours a day.”

Last month, 21 private generators out of a total of 43 generators in the district stopped supplying citizens with electricity in protest against the shortage of diesel used to operate the generators.

Hussein says that the problem of the private generators has not been finally resolved and the diesel problem is still a challenge, so they fear that the private generators will stop providing them with electricity again.

The war against the Islamic State ISIS militants eight years ago caused great damage to the public sector in Shingal (120 km west of Mosul), including water and electricity distribution networks, damaging homes, schools and religious sites. Thousands of Ezidis (Yazidis) were killed, enslaved and displaced for being non-Muslims.

Iraq's electricity ministry has cited a number of causes for the prolonged and widespread cuts including sabotage attacks, shortages of fuel for power stations, and lack of budget for periodical maintenance.

Sabotage acts have lately found power transmission towers a hot target.

The Iraqi ministry of electricity said in a statement last August that 13 towers for transmission of power were damaged by ISIS militants in 48 hours in Ninawa, Kirkuk and Salahaddin, including Kirkuk-Gayarra (in Mosul) by IED, causing damage to five towers.

  • FB
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • YT