Facing mounting debt and with budget negotiations with Baghdad getting complicated (MEES, 5 March and MEES, 22 January), Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) has decided to increase electricity tariffs. The 20% hike from February covers all categories of consumers, including households (see table). Erbil has cited December’s 23% devaluation of the Iraqi Dinar by the central government as a reason for increasing tariffs.

Given that power prices for small residential consumers are so low, even a 20% hike represents only a small increase in absolute terms. With politicians likely wary of a potential public backlash from any more substantial hike, modest residential consumers still pay less than a fifth of typical prices for industrial and commercial users. (CONTINUED - 941 WORDS)