Iran has increased electricity exports to its neighboring countries by 29 percent in the current Iranian year (started March 21, 2011) compared to the same period in the previous year. The Iranian Energy Ministry announced on Tuesday that it has exported more than 8,168 MW of electricity since the beginning of the current Iranian year. The figure shows a 28.78 percent increase compared to the similar period last year, which stood at 6,343 MW. Electricity consumption has decreased considerably in Iran since the implementation of the government's subsidy reform plan. The plan has paved the way for more electricity exports to neighboring Azerbaijan, Armenia, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan and Nakhchivan. The subsidy reform plan, which began late in 2010, has enabled the Iranian government to gradually reduce energy subsidies over the course of five years, with low-income families compensated with direct cash handouts. Iran seeks to become a major regional exporter of electricity and has attracted more than USD 1.1 billion in investment to build three new power plants.