'Second-class citizens'

Diwaniyah villagers demand power grid improvements, allege discrimination

DIWANIYAH — Residents of villages in the Sumer district, northeast of Diwaniyah Governorate, rallied Thursday morning outside the local electricity directorate to demand improvements to the power grid. The protesters, who are grappling with low voltage that damages household appliances, accused the electricity department of discriminatory treatment compared to the consistent, high-voltage supply in urban centers.

The demonstrators also voiced concerns over reduced electricity supply hours. “The electricity directorate treats rural residents as second-class citizens. The supply hours in the city are much better, and we receive low voltage, sometimes as low as 40 volts,” Fahim Al-Atto, a protester, told 964media.

Low voltage can lead to the malfunction, reduced performance, or failure of household appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners, causing inconvenience and potentially leading to higher maintenance costs for residents. Additionally, it can affect the efficiency of lighting and heating systems, compromising the comfort and safety of homes.

Protesters highlighted additional infrastructure issues, including inadequate water supply that fails to reach many homes. “The relevant authorities must find urgent solutions to these problems, or we will escalate our actions,” Al-Atto added.

The group has threatened to resume protests after the Eid Al-Adha holiday if their demands are not addressed.

Kamel Al-Hargusi, another protester, detailed the state of the power infrastructure in the Al-Barakat area, which traverses several agricultural zones. “The power line, established in 1979, is deteriorating. Despite our official correspondences and inspections, we have received no response,” Al-Hargusi stated.

Ahmed Majid, head of the Sumer Electricity Maintenance Center, acknowledged the challenges in an interview with 964media. “We have informed the relevant authorities with detailed inspections to find solutions for these areas. We are awaiting the allocation of funds from the regional development budget. The low voltage issues stem from the deteriorating grid,” Majid explained.

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