Public misuse of electricity leads to wasting government money
Tuesday, 17 July 2012, 09:27 GMT
The Kurdish Globe
Electricity prices are cheap in the Kurdistan Region
The lamps on the gates of the Kurdish houses help light the streets even during the day and shop owners are ever keen to turn on dozens of lamps in their shops 24 hours a day. Moreover, while it is still more than an hour left before it gets dark, the lights on all the streets and public parks are glowing bright.
All these indicate that for the people of Kurdistan wasting energy has becoming habitual and pleasing.
At nights, very few houses turn off the lights before going to sleep and in a room that only needs two lamps to light, it has 8 to 10 turned on all day.
Whenever the issue of wasting electricity is raised, people instantly accuse the air conditioning, cooling and heating devices, which definitely consume a lot of power. However, if one considers these devices as necessary, then the real waste is the vast amount of lamps turned on during the day.
Region's produced power
Although, the summer season has arrived, on average households have 21 hours of electricity per day, which is thanks to the 2,200 megawatts of electricity the region produces.
Electricity demand is increasing on an exponential rate and this has pushed the government to sign further power production contracts on a continuous basis.
Last month the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) signed a new electricity production contract with a value of USD 1 billion, to be implemented in a partnership with the local Kar Group, the Czech PSG company and the Turkish Renaissance Company.
With the completion of this project, another 1000 megawatts of electricity will be produced, raising the region's production capacity to 3,200 megawatts in total.
Cost of power production
For the Duhok power station to operate, USD 3 million is consumed every day. This means for the cost of generating 400 megawatts of electricity, the region needs USD 1 billion every year. This is in addition to other costs such as rebuying of electricity.
However, there could be a simple and straight forward way to prevent all this capital and energy waste. If one lamp consumes 100 watts of power and every household turns off 4 lamps in one day, the total saving will be 400 watts or electricity.
Omed Mohammed, Kurdistan Region's Electricity Control Director, says that there are 1 million subscribed users of electricity. This means that if everyone saves 400 watts per day, the total daily saving will be 4 million watts, i.e. 400 megawatts. This one step can save USD 3 million of the public budget per day, which has becomes more than USD 1 billion per annum.
This money can then be used in other vital projects such as building schools and residential units, two of the most serious issues facing the region.
Electricity ministry authorities and experts believe that if electricity consumption is reduced, in addition to the huge financial saving, it will also lower the load on the power distribution networks and hence reduce breakdown rate and thus the repair and maintenance cost of the system, adding further saving potential.
Raising public awareness
Electricity prices are cheap in the Kurdistan Region and therefore the ministry is planning to revise the rates and increase them in order to create a balance between prices and production costs.
However, Mohammed believes that advice and regulations for power saving should be studied at school, first to teach the next generation how to save power and also to raise awareness of the students' parents through this channel.
The ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs helps the electricity ministry by using the mosque tribunes to help raise people's awareness through their Friday preaches.
Barzan Salih Ali, spokesperson of the Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs, said that they are distributing the electricity ministry's advices and announcements to the preachers to address during the Friday prayer.
Ali promised the Globe that he will ask the preachers to focus on this matter in their next Friday prayer speech.
Wasting is a prohibited in Islam
Mala Jaafar Guani, an Islamic scientist reiterates that wasting and misuse of anything is strictly prohibited in Islam and he gave an example of a speech by Prophet Mohammed about this saying "If you are on the sea and waste water for ablution, you have committed a forbidden act."
Moreover, Guani also said that according to the Quran, those who waste or misuse anything are "brothers of the devil."
"I would like to ask people not to waste power as this will have negative impact on the public interest," Guani said in an interview with the Kurdish Globe.
The electricity shortage issue started in 1991 in Kurdistan and from this period until 2003, people were lucky to have a few hours of electricity per day. However, after 2003 the situation got better year after year, and currently households get 21 hours of electricity per day.
However, the previous crisis and subsequent waiting has made people try to make the maximum use of electricity whenever they have it, and this has almost become part of culture and nothing, including the media, has been able to change this reality until now.