Katie Couric's Notebook: Iraq and Electricity


As the temperatures climb, the warnings come.

We're reminded to turn off the air conditioning when we're not home and run the dishwasher only at night - or risk losing power. That's already happened in parts of the country this summer. Now, imagine if it were like that all the time.

That's life in Iraq.

When the U.S. invaded, Iraq's power grid was a mess, but seven years later, it still is. Despite billions in American aid, many rich sections of Baghdad or Basra are lucky to get eight hours of electricity a day. Poor neighborhoods sometimes get just one. Families can supplement by hooking up to a nearby generator, but that could mean they won't have enough money for food.

Iraq's prime minister has urged people to be patient because the situation may not improve for another two years. As frustration grows, and summertime temperatures hit 120 degrees, the government hopes to avoid heated battle with those battling the heat.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.