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Powering Baghdad

Nearly a nuclear power plant's worth of private generators fill in for the struggling national electricity grid in Baghdad. But the fuel is dirty, the generators are inefficient, and although necessary, the generators will have to be shut once the national grid stands on its own.

BAGHDAD - When Iraq's national power grid rolls its multi-daily blackouts through the capital, thousands of private generators switch on. Some are just enough to power basic necessities in a house. Others provide electricity to as many as 600 houses.

Although Iraq officially produces twice as much electricity now than it did in 2003, demand has soared since then, when the U.S. government has opened the country to deregulated imports and removed all tariffs. Air conditioners, big screen TVs, modern refrigerators and other power-sucking appliances are now a staple of Iraqi households who can afford them.

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