The Islamic Republic last year discontinued subsidies on electricity as part of a broader program of initiatives, which also involved fuel and food. In an interview on the side of a World Energy Council conference, Mohammad Behzad, deputy minister for power and energy, said the measure had reduced electricity consumption by 2%, reversing a previous annual growth of 8% in the country\'s energy bill. The remarks underscore how Iran\'s economy has been partly insulated from the effect of sanctions by recent economic reforms and reliance on local contractors. Tehran was also able to increase its power to neighboring countries, Behzad said, citing Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq as countries buying Iran\'s electricity. The deputy minister said sanctions had not impacted Iran\'s power-generation sector. \"We use locally-based technologies,\" he said.