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Generator Electricity in Iraq

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Generator Power in Iraq

As I walked through the streets of Duhok, the provincial capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, I was surprised to find that all of the businesses were powered by generators. The rumbling sounds of these electricity making curbside internal combustion engines set the soundtrack to this region.

There seems to be little to no electrical infrastructure for personal use in Northern Iraq. The generator is the main source of electricity.

In many hotels and other businesses, electricity is only available in the evening.
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Wade from Vagabond Journey.com
in Duhok, Iraq- April 1, 2009
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This makes the prices of many services in the country more expensive. I went to a hotel outside of Amadiya that was completely vacant of any guests. The owner said that he could not accept a price for a room under 40,000 Iraqi Dinars ($34) because if we stayed there he would have to power up the generator. It would be economically better for him if we did not stay there than if he had to power up the electricity just for us.

Northern Iraq has become a riddle to me. It has become a sort of real life connect the dots game with few lines running between the dots. There are many signs of development: cell phones, many private cars, nice housing, super satellite television, internet, good roads, but many of the basics are missing, such as electricity, clean water, and inter-city public transportation. This is a region of the world that seems to have one foot well planted in the modern era with the other a century in the past.

The recent war in Iraq did not directly impact the Kurdish majority north of the country, but its impacts are obvious. Much of the infrastructure of the Saddam Hussein regime has fallen to shambles and it has been put back together in a very haphazard way. There was once municipal electricity in this region, inter-city buses, clean drinking water, and many of the other amenities of the modern era, but when Saddam fell the public infrastructure did as well, and has only been replaced by various business mafias.

Generators are supplied by the generator mafia, water by the water mafia, transportation by the taxi mafia . . .

One big Saddam has only been replaced by 100 little Saddams.

It is my impression that Northern Iraq is a region in which everyone is fighting for everyone else’s slice of the pie, and nobody is ending up with much of it to eat.


Electricity in Northern Iraq is almost completely powered off of generators.

Generator Power in Iraq

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Filed under: Iraq, Middle East

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3054 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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