Sunday, May 14, 2006

Another Night

Sorry to inundate you with news of my sleepless nights, but last night was worse than the night before, though I didn't think that was possible. Our large neigborhood generator is down for another ten days at least. In the meantime, my husband went out yesterday and bought a smaller generator for the house (12 amperes).

Supposedly, we should have been able to turn on the air conditioner unit in our bedroom on it; but that didn't happen. So we attempted to sleep in a hot bedroom with a fan sending hot air our way. Not easy.

Anyways, here are some 'Iraqi electricity facts':

* Yesterday, these were the times we had 'governmental' electricity in our area:
8:30-9:30 am
2:30-3:30 pm
8:30-9:30 pm
2:30-3:30 am
This has been the schedule for a few days now. But we never know exactly when electricity will come; it depends on the Minister of Electricity's whims. :)

* Most households own a small generator (for lights/TV/fans) and pay to use about 5-10 amperes of electricity from a neighborhood generator (not enough for an air conditioning unit) .

* Diesal prices (for the large generators, of which ours just broke down) have just skyrocketed from 80,000 ID per barrel a couple of weeks ago, to 130,000 ID recently (1500 ID = 1 USD). This is up from normal prices which are 25,000-50,000 ID normally. Our neighborhood generator (four families use it) goes through a barrel every 5-7 days; and that's on an average use of the generator).

* Generators need regular maintenance, and for major breakdowns, that can be costly!

* An Iraqi dentist makes about 300,000 ID monthly. As my neighbor (dentist's wife) put it, "The Iraqi salary goes to buying food and covering generator costs."

* An average Iraqi woman can tell you how many amperes of electricity a fridge uses.

* Many Iraqi children can switch their electricity source from the governmental source to the generator source. Many can also turn on/off generators (my 9 year old neighbor).
* The following terms have become a regular part of Iraqi lingo: 'wataniyah- governmental electricity', ampere, muwallida- generator, khatt- neighbor's electricity (see explanation below).

* Some Iraqis have a 'khatt', ie they have hooked up to a neighbor's governmental electricity line (electricity comes at different times in different neighborhoods; some neighbors have different schedules). Not very legal, but I guess tough times call for tough solutions.


f. d. rahman said...

how did the generator break down?

Fatima said...

Over use, I guess.