Iran has reduced gas supplies to electric power plants feeding southern and central Iraq to 19 million cubic feet per day.
The step caused the power stations in Iraq to lose about 1,000 megawatts of electricity.
The Iraqi Ministry of Electricity said “the Iranian gas that supplies power plants in the central regions of Iraq and Baghdad, have been reduced from 34 million cubic meters to 20 million cubic meters per day”.
As for the southern regions of the country, Iranian gas rates have declined “from 17 million cubic meters to 12 million cubic meters per day,” according to the statement, which did not explain any reasons for the Iranian decision.
The statement said that this reduction cost “the [electrical] system about 1,000 megawatts of electricity”.
On December 27, Tehran reduced the quantities of gas exported to Iraq by 40%, due to Baghdad’s failure to pay the outstanding debts amounting to about $4 billion.
The frequency of attacks on electricity transmission lines in Iraq by gunmen, likely belonging to the Islamic State Organization, has escalated during the past few weeks. This has exacerbated the energy shortage crisis in the country.
Iraq produces 19,000 megawatts of electric power, while the actual need exceeds 30,000, which leads to frequent power cuts, especially in the summer, amid protests from the population.
Iraq is holding talks with Gulf countries, led by Saudi Arabia, to import electricity, after being completely dependent on Iran alone during the past years.
Iraq has been importing 1,200 megawatts of electricity from Iran, as well as gas fuel to feed local electric power stations.
In another context, the Iraqi government is continuing its campaign to fight corruption in the Ministry of Electricity. At the time, officials confirmed that the campaign is facing obstacles.
This campaign coincides with the continuing crisis in supplying the electricity sector in Iraq, which witnessed a complete collapse about two weeks ago, due to the heat wave and the targeting of power transmission towers.
The Iraqi Prime Minister, Mustafa Al-Kazemi, had taken measures at the beginning of the crisis, by dismissing officials in the Ministry of Electricity on charges of administrative negligence.
Iraq still produces less than half of its actual energy needs, amounting to about 30,000 megawatts, with the continued instability of Iranian gas imports.
Citizens in Iraq have been receive 10 hours of electricity a day for the past days. They compensated the remaining hours through private generators that sell electricity to citizens for $22 per month.