The Board of Commissioners of the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC) has fined the Liberia Electricity Cooperation (LEC) US$10,000 for its failure to comply with reporting obligations of their licenses as stipulated in the terms and conditions.
Dr. Lawrence D. Sekajipo, Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, told journalists over the weekend that the Commission's decision to impose a monetary fine against the LEC is by "Section 6.12 (Noncompliance/Penalties and Fines)" of the 2015 Electricity Law of Liberia (ELL) and Regulation 12 (Penalties and Fines) of the 2020 September Electricity Licensing Regulations (ELR).
According to Dr. Sekajipo, after the commission issued six licenses to LEC in March 2021, they have refused to comply with the terms and conditions which call for reporting obligations.
“All those licenses, permits, and authorization are issued alone with terms and conditions that must be strictly adhered to. Failure of licensees and permit holders to comply with terms and conditions will lead to punitive actions as provided for in the 2015 Electricity Law of Liberia and the Electricity Licensing Regulations,” he said.
He, however, encouraged electricity operators in the sector to comply with the 2015 Electricity Law of Liberia and Regulations. Dr. Sekaijpo said over the past months, the Commission has been engaging self-suppliers operating at various thresholds with the purpose of creating awareness and sensitizing self-suppliers about the work of the Commission and encouraging them to come into compliance with the Electricity Law and Regulations.
He said the process will allow the Commission to populate the database of operators and facilitate the registration, licensing, and permit process in the soonest possible time. The LERC was established as the independent electricity industry regulator under the 2015 ELL that prescribes the legal and regulatory framework for the sector.
Dr. Sekaijpo said the 2015 ELL Section 13.4 (Funding and Budget) provides that revenues to meet LERC's budget shall be derived from levies or surcharges on the energy bills paid by energy suppliers and consumers. “In the coming months, the Commission will work with the National Legislature in terms of allocating a percentage of revenues (levy) collected within the sector to fund the Commission as provided for by the law,” he said.
The LERC Chairperson said the regulations will facilitate safe, coordinated, accelerated and development of the electricity sector and spur economic development in Liberia.
providing benefits of LERC, Dr. Sekaijpo said the commission will liberalize the electricity sector to allow private participation, attract private sector investment, ensure competition and enhance affordability, increase access to an improved quality of services, foster regional integration, regulatory funding for the Commission, and independence of the Commission.
Dr. Sekaijpo said as part of the achievement, LERC in June 2021, issued a small composite Micro Utility permit to Totota Electric Cooperative to operate a mini-grid in Totota, Bong County, and in August 2021, a large Micro Utility Distribution License was issued to Jungle Energy Power (JEP) for the Nimba Distribution area, and in March of this year, LEC received six operational licenses.