The first time I came to northern
This company had to pay for its own generator, but the executives said that they were lucky because at least their business could afford it. People aren't on USAID contracts and generators are expensive; a small, used generator that will run a TV and some lights can't give enough energy to run a hot water boiler. It costs at least $1,500 plus a few hundred dollars a month in fuel, which at this point can pretty much only be purchased on the black market due to the fuel shortage.
Living with two hours of power a day is more than inconvenient -- it's unnerving. You can't keep fresh food in your refrigerator, can't take hot showers, can't watch TV, can't work and have to sit in the dark. Without electricity you feel like you don't have many choices, or much power over your own life.
When I left in August 2006, there was between six and twelve hours a day, but now the shortage is much worse. In
There's no war here, so Kurds are wondering why, three and a half years after Saddam was overthrown and 15 years after the Kurdish government took power, they don't have power. According to Human Rights Watch and other sources, the electricity shortage began when the
Kurds generally blame the Kurdish government, but many Iraqis argue that the electricity shortage is representative of the
The businessmen I drove in with, Iraqis and even some in the State Department