The Liberia Electricity Corperation (LEC) Nimba County Grid under the West Africa Power Pool (WAPP) last Thursday was handed over to a private company that will manage it for 10 years.
Jungle Energy Power (JE–Power) is a combination of Jungle Water Group of Companies, owned by Floyld Seh-Tomah, a Liberian, and a Ghanaian-owned company, Energy Venture.
According to the program overview, the government and JE–Power reached the agreement recently following years of negotiation. In the agreement, JE–Power will be responsible for the WAPP’s Nimba Grid, providing electricity to communities from Ivory Coast to Saclepea in central Nimba County.
In one of the clauses, it is agreed that within three years, the power supply will connect at least 7,000 customers. Again, it was agreed and signed that the electricity should not go off for 48 hours unless there was a problem with the supplier line in Ivory Coast.
The European Commission through the WAPP reached the agreement with the Government of Ivory Coast to provide the 33KV line to three locations including the Nimba, Grand Gedeh and Maryland grids.
The Nimba and Grand Gedeh grids have been commissioned, thereby connecting 18 communities.
Since 2012, Nimba County has been benefiting from this cross border electricity supply. But the exercise has not been effective due to intermittent power outages without any prior notice or warning from management to customers.
Despite this inconvenience, customers said they continue to enjoy this form of power supply as it is much cheaper than the cost of operating a generator on a daily basis.
At the turning over ceremony, LEC Board Chair Ian Yap urged JE—Power President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Floyld Seh-Tomah to seek the interest of beneficiaries of the project.
Mr. Yap said the LEC will give every support to ensure that the project succeeds.
He asked the residents to make wise use of the electricity and avoid power theft that would endanger the lives of others. He said the turning over of the Nimba Grid to the JE—Power is part of the government’s privatization policy to give concessions to the private sector.
For his part, Tomah expressed satisfaction for taking over the project, which he described as one avenue that government has opened to impact the lives of rural dwellers especially those in communities close to the power supply lines.
“From now on, customers will make the maximum use of the project since it is cost-saving as compared to the use of generators in private homes across the country,” Mr. Tomah said.
Tomah promised to begin effective renovation of the project’s sub-offices beginning with the Ganta branch office, which will be followed by the planting of poles – which kicked off on Friday, December 2.
Meanwhile, the Nimba County business community has expressed satisfaction with government for turning the project over to a private entity. They called on the government to annul past current bills owed by customers.