The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) Monie Raph Captan discloses here that recent electricity deal signed with neighboring Ivory Coast takes effect in December with actual power hitting the ground on December 10, 2022.
The Government of Liberia signed the Transmission Service Agreement (TSA) involving the Liberia Electricity Corporation at TRANSCO CLSG headquarters in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Wednesday, 26 October 2022.
Liberia's Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Samuel D. Tweah, Jr. who left Monrovia to attend the signing ceremony in Abidjan, has promised government's financial commitment to sustaining the TRANSCO CLSG.
Addressing the Ministry of Information regular briefing on Thursday, 10 November held at the LEC conference hall on Carey Street in Monrovia, Mr. Captan indicated that the entire country needs a total of 40 megawatts of electricity during the dry season, but currently, only 14 megawatts are being shared across the country.
However, he alarms that high increase of power theft in the country is a serious challenge to the LEC thus, discouraging the energy sector of the country from meeting its present obligation.
"We can bring the cost of kilowatt per hour down if all of us pay for the current that we used," he adds.
According to the former Foreign Minister, the power agreement with IVORY COAST has added additional 27 megawatts to current power supply in Liberia, bringing up to a total of 41 megawatts.
"With the increase, there's a need for Liberians to see reason to minimize the issue of power theft in order to enable LEC to pay for the electricity that has been provided to Liberia."
Mr. Captan further reveals that on November 9, 2022, the Government of Japan repaired and initiated completion of additional 10 megawatts of power generator.
"This smaller generator", he explains, "will serve as support to the power that is coming from the Ivory Coast which will be in the country 20 days from now, the electricity will be here on December 10, 2022."
He says before the electricity touches the soil of Liberia, the LEC wants to ensure systems are in place to generate the money to pay Ivory Coast in order to maintain the power supply.
"For this purpose, we have set up a major anti-power theft campaign to stop power theft and to be able to pay for the supply which will be here during December."
He clarifies that the objective of the campaign is not to arrest residents or Liberians, but to make those who are not legal customers of LEC to become legal customers.
"Nobody should think that the agreement we had with Ivory Coast is a friendly or business-as-usual agreement. They are not helping us; we have to pay for the current," he underscores.
He notes that Ivory Coast is going to send a bill every month to the Government of Liberia and the LEC must be able to meet this obligation by selling electricity to customers or the public.
"If we cannot pay Ivory Coast their money every month, the power will be cut down. The only way to pay is when everyone who is using the power pay to LEC."
According to him, the reason why the country needs more electricity is because demand for it has increased over the period, saying "We are moving from the demand of 40 megawatts to a demand of 60 megawatts."
To meet this demand, he says there's a need to set up more power generators and spent more money to bring in the electricity.
The LEC Board Chair reiterates that stealing electricity endangers its supply to the country and at the same time keeps its cost per hour high because somebody has to pay for the electricity that has been stolen.
He notes that while it is true people steal a lot from other countries, but it is not as compared to the rate of theft in Liberia, declaring that it has to stop.
"Electricity is the key to development; no country can be productive without electricity to facilitate growth; we need human capital but electricity is one of the keys which is referred to under the Millennium Challenge Corporation - MCC", Captan adds.