FORWARD OPERATING BASE BRASSFIELD-MORA, SAMARRA, Iraq - Iraqi Security Forces met with U.S. Army Soldiers and members of the Provincial Reconstruction Team recently to assess the current state of electric utility service throughout Samarra.
Director General of Electricity for Samarra, Mr. Hameed, escorted ISF, members of the Salah ad-Din PRT and Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 35th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, on a tour of various power substations in the city. Hameed and his team have made continual progress in upgrading Samarra's power grid over the last several months.
"Though there have been some setbacks in progress," said Hameed, "the overall outlook for completion of several electrical projects in Samarra is very positive." Next to clean drinking water, the people of Samarra mark access to electricity as their most important concern.
Working closely with Hameed, an Iraqi contractor named Basam and key leaders of the PRT have developed a large-scale, long-term plan for providing power to nearly all of Samarra's citizens. Basan estimates it would take more than 200 megawatts of electricity to power the entire city. Current output levels reside just below half that number.
"An electrical project can be something as simple as installing new transformers and running new power lines, or as complex as upgrading or developing entire power substations, said Mr. Mike Craft, Salah ad-Din PRT leader. "No matter what the size of the project," he continued, "every small step helps." Hundreds of meters of electrical cable have been run to neighborhoods all around the city in recent months to improve access to electricity.
In addition to localized construction, work is underway to connect several of Samarra's power substations to a nearly completed mega station known as the Jalasiya Power Plant. The total power output from Jalasiya, once generating at full capacity, is estimated to be 340 megawatts. A substantial portion of that power will be alloted to the city of Samarra. Testing has already begun at the power plant, and Jalasiya should be fully operational by mid-summer.