24 June 2019

Liberia: EU Warns Against 'Illegal Power Connections'

Juan Antonio Frutos, Deputy Head of Delegation and Chargé d'Affaires of the European Union Delegation to Liberia, has warned Liberians not to get involved with any form of illegal connections or power theft of the Liberia Electricity Cooperation (LEC).

Frutos spoke in Congo Town on Friday June 21, 2019 at the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Monrovia Consolidation of Electricity Transmissions and Distribution Project, worth US$42 million. The product is being dubbed, "Light Up Monrovia."

"We understand the urgency and need for Liberians to get connected to the grid as soon as possible. Unfortunately these works take time, because they have to be done in a proper and safe way," Mr. Frutos said.

According to him, the thousands of Monrovia residents who are waiting to get electricity can steadily see their communities being connected to the electricity grid one step at a time, but warned against "illegal connection, which he said should never be an option."

"This project is rigorously being monitored from the very beginning. Therefore, we want the company to be extremely vigilant in the execution of the works."

(From right) MBH Power Limited Country Manager, Parvez Kumar Handa; EU Deputy Head of Delegation, Frutous; Deputy Finance Minister, Augustus Flomo; Mines and Energy Minister, Gesler Murray and other guests at the occasion.

Mr. Frutos said that the company, MHB, will carry on the construction works at the cost of US$42 million, thus paving way for 38,000 household connections.

"It will complete the main transmission line connecting Bushrod Island to Paynesville City, outside Monrovia via the Capitol Hill and Congo Town, closing the loop by interphasing with other projects in the Paynesville substation," he added.

Frutos called on the Liberian government to allot budget to compensate the local population in the driveway to free the transmission lines.

"The EU counts on the goodwill of all authorities to carry on the necessary relocations and expropriations in an efficient and fair manner to avoid tensions with local community leaders along the transmission lines and thus ensure a smooth project implementation without unnecessary delays," he said.

The Minister of Mines and Energy, Gesler E. Murray, cautioned residents who are expected to benefit from the "Light Up Monrovia" project to remember that the government is working on laws that will make power theft a non-bailable offense.

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