In the wake of recent protest by residents of Caldwell Montserrado County, an emergency meeting was held between the Management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) and citizens of Caldwell to address their plight.
The communication director of LEC, Winston Bedell, told UNMIL radio earlier on Monday, Feb. 26, that a delegation representing Caldwell and the LEC authority held a fruitful meeting.
According to Bedell, following the meeting, the LEC has assured residents of Caldwell that the company will begin to connect the township in the course of five weeks. He said materials to start the World Bank project was due in 5 weeks at which time LEC hopes that work can commence.
According to him,The World Bank-funded Liberia Accelerated Electricity Expansion Project-Additional Financing (LACEEP-AF) is financing the connection of Caldwell and several other communities to the national electricity grid. This project is expected to connect over 33,000 households and businesses.
At the same time the project will be covering part of Gardnersville, Caldwell, Virginia and Brewerville. Bomi, Grand Cape Mount counties, will also be covered by the project. ‘‘This is a World Bank funded project that has large details, but we want to assure residents of Caldwell and other surrounding areas that in 5 weeks, we hope to see actual work start,’’ Bedell said.
The LEC communication director further clarified that the LEC commitment to carrying electricity to Caldwell did not come about in the wake of the recent protest by residents, saying that it was just coincidental.
He said people do not have to protest before getting electricity. “Every citizen has the right to electricity as one of the basic services governments has to provide, but citizens have to be patient,” he noted. Bedell also pointed out that LEC as an institution does not have sufficient funding to do everything; as such it has to work with partners that will tell them when and where to connect people at different locations.
He also noted that these partners work with time; therefore, Liberians need to understand that getting current is a process, not an event.
Meanwhile, he reiterated that these projects that are being funded by partners are also being guided by principles; as such LEC as an institution needs to meet the benchmarks set by these partners in order to operate accordingly. According to him, it is important to know that LEC is also concerned about its customers, therefore it is doing everything possible to address these problems for everyone.
“When the materials are made available, we have to hire contractors, do the reaction settlement plans and there are a lot of formalities. So, we are pleading with our people to exercise a little patience as we continue to ask for support to continue the connection process throughout the country,” Bedell said.
He re-emphasized that in five weeks the materials are expected to be in the country, stating that just in case anything goes to the contrary, authorities of LEC will do a formal communication to have the public informed.
It may be recalled that recently, aggrieved residents protested due to the lack of electricity in the township of Caldwell. The residents lamented that the insecurity and hardship they are faced with was due to the lack of electricity in the area. They also expressed frustration that Caldwell is the main corridor that leads to the Mt. Coffee Hydro Power plant, but not a single home has been connected to LEC’s network.