BAGHDAD, Aug. 14 (UPI) -- While Iraq's politicians and bureaucrats pass blame over the inability to provide the country with enough electricity, angry citizens just find ways to cope.
In recent weeks the Electricity Ministry has accused provinces of eating up more than their power quota, insurgents for attacking the infrastructure and the Oil Ministry for not providing enough fuel.
All are warranted charges.
But in Baghdad, where electricity under Saddam was more regular than anywhere else in the country, those suffering in the mad summer heat turn to unofficial channels for electricity that merely powers appliances, like fans.
Highs of 120 degrees F and lows in the 90s means sleeping on the roof during blackouts, which are more frequent lately. Only houses near hospitals and other surviving municipal administrations have somewhat regular electricity, the Los Angeles Times reports, adding often water and treatment plants are inoperable.
The Brookings Institution's Iraq Index estimated this month Baghdad averages 4.9 hours of electricity a day and the country as a whole 9.3 hours.
Earlier this month, Najaf province disconnected its power plant from the national grid because it blamed the central government for not giving what it's due in electricity. Others are thinking of doing the same, as well as forming their own semi-autonomous region.
The Electricity Ministry said the provinces are taking too much electricity.
Azzaman reported in English on its Web site last week that the ministers of oil and electricity argued about fuel supplies at a recent Cabinet meeting. The Electricity Ministry says only two of the 17 main lines serving Baghdad with power from plants north and south are working. The infrastructure often is attacked.
Salam Abdul-Wahid, a Baghdad policeman, told the Times his neighbors collected money to buy a needed cable to reconnect electricity to about 20 homes. The Electricity Ministry told the neighbors it couldn't find the part in its warehouses.
"We bought it and paid the workers who installed it as if they were free laborers and not employed already," Abdul-Wahid said. "It was disgusting. We need a government on the street, not behind fortified walls."