New Democrat (Monrovia)

12 June 2014

Liberia: LEC Disconnects 10,000 Homes

The abrupt disconnection of thousands of citizens by the management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) has triggered stiff reaction from the Senate, with LEC management being probed.

The move followed a complaint from Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe Sheriff who condemned the LEC.

The management of LEC recently reached a decision to cut-off all costumers following verification of fraud by several residents in the area. LEC's Executive Director for Administration and Human Resources, Vamunyah F. Sheriff said increasing power theft costs U$4,000 daily and U$200,000 monthly losses.

"The losses account for 15 to 20 percent or more, which represents U$200,000 monthly to the company," he said at a recent press conference on Bushord Island. But in her communication last week, Senator Sheriff described the shutdown, as an embarrassment, which she said, seems to affect even legitimate customers on the grid. The only structure still on LEC's grid in the area is the Redemption Hospital.

"More than 10,000 private homes and businesses are being affected as a result of LEC's decision," she told the Senate. The Montserrado county lawmaker said, New Kru Town remains a heavily populated terrain, faced with several challenges, which make electricity a paramount concern.

She said the generalization that all residents of the area are involved in 'current theft' is unfortunate and LEC needs to give some answers. She condemned 'power theft' which according to her has the propensity to derail government's effort in raising revenue.

Tuesday's complaint was however debated with senators endorsing the investigation. The Senate committees on Lands, Mines and Energy, Judiciary are heading the investigation. The committees' findings are expected to be presented to the full body this week.

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