Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Report: Karbala without electricity following downing of transmission tower

Above: Satellite image of Karbala. Karbala has a population of over 500,000, and Shia Muslims consider Karbala to be one of their holiest cities after Mecca, Medina and Najaf.

Karbala, March 27, (VOI)- The southern Iraqi city of Karbala saw a total shutdown of electricity on Tuesday morning after a high voltage electricity tower transmitting electricity from al-Mussaib power plant, 50 km north of the city, to Karbala was blown up, an eyewitness and an official said.

"A blast targeted this morning a tower transferring electricity from al-Mussaib power plant to Karbala," an eyewitness told the independent news agency Voices of Iraq (VOI).

An official from Karbala electricity department told VOI "so far we do not know whether the electricity collapse was because of a ‘terrorist’ attack or a technical fault at al-Mussaib power plant."

He added, "the electricity supply totally went off in the city this morning but we managed, after 11:00 am, to provide the city with five mega watts."
The official, who expected that Karbala will be without electricity tonight, said "the five watts were provided to operate the water plant and hospitals in the city."

Karbala, 108 km southwest of Baghdad, is in need of 350 MW everyday but is only provided with 85 MW due to the shortage of electricity in the country, said the official, noting "most local residents rely on the large privately run generators set up in different parts of the city which operate up to six hours a day, especially from 6:00 pm until midnight."

From VOI