Khalaf stressed in a press conference the need for citizens to help protecting the towers, since the security forces cannot monitor all the lines due to their extension in vast areas that are difficult to control.
Yesterday at dawn, Iraq witnessed a complete blackout. However, Iraqi authorities reported that the problem was being solved gradually.
A widespread power outage hit Iraq on Friday as temperatures reached scorching levels, affecting millions of Iraqis, including those in affluent areas in the capital of Baghdad, and stirring concerns of widespread unrest.
Iraq's grid was generating just over 4,000 megawatts, according to Ministry of Electricity data on Friday morning — significantly less than the 12,000-17,000 megawatts the grid generates on average. By midday, production had climbed to 8,000 MW.
The cuts have impacted Baghdad and the southern governorates in particular. In the oil-rich southern city of Basra, which in the past has seen violent protests over chronic electricity cuts and poor public services, a group of protesters burned tires to block roads during a demonstration demanding the return of electricity.
The Electricity Ministry said power transmission lines have been routinely sabotaged by unknown groups in northern Iraq in recent weeks. One 400 kilovolt line from Kirkuk to Qayara was targeted Thursday, the ministry said in a statement. Another 132 kV line was hit in Salahhadin on the same day.
Local TV channels initially reported that the outage on Friday was due to cutting a major 400 kV line between Baghdad and the southern Governorate of Babel. However, the ministry has not confirmed the incident.
Total shutdowns can also occur when Iraq's electricity network is working at maximum capacity. Defects in the transmission network and distribution capacity also contribute to outages. High temperatures can also impact the distribution lines.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi formed a crisis cell to take immediate measures to address shortages, according to a statement from his office.
Temperatures in Baghdad and other governorates have been soaring above 48 degrees Celcius in recent days. The government declared an official holiday in Baghdad on Thursday due to the scorching heatwave.