After five days in a row of having the power go out every afternoon around 1 pm, we finally seem to have consistent electricity again. Hopefully the juice stays on- it's hard to stay up on sleep for nighttime missions when the power continually goes out during the hottest part of the day (and during the time we have for sleeping). I talked with the lead KBR electrician who was sent to fix the problems as they arose each day- it seems there are a number of reasons for the difficulties. First, the electrical system is a hash of several different standards: US, British, and one or two Middle Eastern. ME triangular cable does not fit well into round receptacle American circuit breakers. Secondly, the generator is a different model than the in service in most areas. When the generator goes down, there are often no spare parts to fix it immediately. Lastly, the KBR electricians are short on correct tools. Apparently, KBR has enough money to pay their workers the exhorbent sums required to retain them in spite of the danger and poor conditions, but not enough to equip them properly. Normally, blatant, soulless capitalism doesn't concern me much- the open market usually produces a contractor who is capable of providing decent service. In a closed-bid world such as the one enjoyed by KBR in Iraq, where almost all non-combat support roles are contracted- from food service to laundry to electricity to latrine supply and maintenance, it is unlikely that KBR will lose a contract simply because it will not spend the money to keep a few soldiers in power for 5-6 hours every afternoon.
Not that I am bitter.
Viva la monopoly!