Europe may fear an energy crisis over the coming winter, but for Iraqis an unstable power supply and frequent blackouts have been a reality during decades of war and turmoil.
The Middle Eastern country is rich in oil, but endemic corruption and devastating conflict have taken a heavy toll on its infrastructure and forced most of its 42 million people to adapt.
The noise of privately owned generators can be heard all over the country as households and businesses try to make up for supply shortfalls from the national electricity company.
“Without generators, Iraq would go completely dark,” Mohammed Jabr, a retired public servant, told AFP in his yard in Sadr City, a working-class district of the capital Baghdad.
Ensuring a stable power supply, he said, requires resourcefulness and money when the national grid can go down for four to 10 hours a day in peak summer consumption, according to electricity ministry data.
Generators “provide the electricity we need for the television, fridge, air cooler”, said the 62-year-old former accountant.
He pays $50 a month in generator subscription fees — but even that isn’t always enough to keep a whole house running.