US invites Iraq power bids worth $100 m

July 31 | Updated: Aug 1 2005, 05:30am hrs
The US army is inviting international companies to bid for contracts worth up to $100 million to repair and rebuild Iraqs electricity grid as the countrys power output continues to lag below pre-war levels.

Companies have until September 21 to register an interest with the US armys project and contracting office in Iraq for contracts valued between $3 million and $45 million, which are aimed at restoring and building 132-kilovolt and 400-kilovolt transmission lines, according to a tender posted on the US.

The US government accountability office, in a report released July 28, said the US reconstruction of Iraqs oil and electricity systems has failed to lift energy production above pre-war levels as of May this year.

Efforts to rebuild Iraqs shattered power plants and high wires have been slowed by insurgent sabotage, a lack of fuel to run generators and poor management of electrical stations, the report said.

Power outages during the summer, when temperatures can reach 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), have provoked anger among Iraqis helping fuel opposition to the US presence in the country.

The United Nations warned in May that Iraqs electricity, water and sewage systems are unable to make a difference in the lives of the countrys 27 million people and that 85 percent of households didnt receive a reliable supply of power.

Of about $24 billion the US has provided since 2003 for reconstruction, about $9 billion has been spent on projects including fixing power generation and water treatment systems, equipping security forces and paying administrative costs, the report said.

Electricity output reached 5,389 megawatts on July 14, its highest level since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, according to the Web site of the Iraq Project and Contracting Office, which manages US-funded reconstruction.

Iraqis are receiving 14 hours of electricity per day to run their household appliances, the Web site says.