Liberia: 'Failure Is No Option' - TRANSCO CLSG Project Director Optimistic of Completing Regional Power Project By March 2020

Harrisburg — Contractors building a gigantic electricity station at the Mount Coffee electricity plant have been warned against failing to meet the completion date of March 2020, at which time Transco CLSG power transmission line will be commissioned.

The CLSG line will be a 225 KV double circuit that will produce 486 megawatts of electricity. The power will be transmitted from Cote d'Ivoire to Liberia, and then to Sierra Leone and Guinea.

When the lines are powered, Liberia will then use it as a means of increasing its revenue generation and at the same time solve its power quagmire.

Earlier, the CLSG lines were expected to be turned on by the end of December this year but several challenges including the rainy season have pushed the deadline three months ahead.

However, when the lines are on, TRANSCO CLSG will bring in the electricity to the sub-stations while LEC would sell to customers based on a transmission service agreement with TRANSCO CLSG and Power Purchase Agreement with Cote D'Ivoire.

But taking meticulous inspection of one of the four sub-stations nearing completion, Mr. Etienne Bailly, Director of the Project Implementation Unit of Transco CLSG, stressed that "failure is not an option" for the contractors and admonished them to collaborate and fast track the work.

"As we are today, failure is not an option [and] what we call failure is not that things will not work for the project but we see failure as not meeting the deadline [of March 2020 for the commissioning]," Mr. Bailly said at the Mount Coffee where the sub-station is being built.

"I came to find out whether things are going right because we have some promises we have done to the government of Liberia as it relates the commissioning date - so we want to make sure that the contractors are on track."

The inspection of the sub-station on Wednesday came following a two-day donors coordination meeting in Monrovia where funders of the project decided the new March 2020 deadline for the commissioning of the project.

The meeting, held in Monrovia from Monday to Tuesday, December 9-10, was attended by key donor partners including the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank and the German Development Bank or KFW.

Meanwhile, during the inspection of the Mount Coffee sub-station which has been named by Transco CLSG as "Monrovia Sub-station", Mr. Baily reechoed optimism that the commissioning will take place as planned, and called on the contractors to be steadfast and "be very mindful of the challenges that they have to face in the next three months".

"We are satisfied but now time is very short and we want to be concern and alert the contractors to go fast so that we meet up with March, so we are instructing them (contractors) to go for a close collaboration and to see the best way to safe time," he said.

"I'm optimistic of that and I know that our contractors are very committed and are mindful of the challenges that they have to address."

He added that pre-testing of the sub-stations have started already and that the process will official begin January of next year - by then, many of the substations will already be completed, adding, "Personally, I will come here more often to see that what have be decided is going well."

He urged Liberians to be hopeful about the completion of the power project, which will address the country's energy problem"

"By this project, it will be a connection to which all the 14 ECOWAS states will be connected and so, Liberia will be able to export [electricity] or import electricity and big companies in the future will be able to buy energy," he said.

At the same time, Hannah Roth, Project Manager of the German Development Bank (KFW), expressed confidence that the deadline will be met.

"Of course some bits and pieces are needed to be completed but I'm positive that together with the engineers and together with Transco we are going to accomplish the completion of the project," Ms. Roth said on the project site.

"I'm really proud to be on this project because it's a great team effort and working together with Transco and the other engineers and all the donors - it's a really good team work and I'm proud to be a part."

There are three other sub-stations that are also nearing completion. The sub-stations in Buchanan, Grand Bassa County; Yekepa, Nimba County; Bo-Waterside, Grand Cape Mount County are all expected to be commissioned in March next year with the exception of a fifth one in Botota in Bong county that was included in the plan lately after KFW decided to fund its construction.

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