“49% of LEC Subscribers Not Paying Anything”

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John Ashley, LEC's new CEO through ESB International

New management promises to reduce technical, commercial losses, increase connections

The new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), John Ashley, says about 49 percent of those subscribing or benefiting from LEC power are not paying anything. Thus, the new management plans to reduce aggregate technical and commercial losses, operational expenditure per kilowatt-hour sold (Tariff reduction) and system interruption, while increasing connections.

Speaking to reporters over the weekend in Monrovia, Mr. Ashley said since taking over on January 8, there has been serious assessment by the entire management team to ascertain the key problems within LEC.

“Making the supply of LEC stable or regular is cardinal to the new management, due to the many power shortages. We will be working also on the issue of power theft that includes bypassing meters among others, which is one of the serious problems in Liberia,” Mr. Ashley noted.

He continued, “We will also disconnect people who failed to make their customer service legal and continue to steal electricity. We will begin finding corrupt employees and making sure that they are prosecuted.”

Ashley comes to LEC as a result of a Management Services Contract (MSC) the company signed in late 2017 with ESB International, a leading engineering and management consultancy firm to the global utility sector.

ESB International is wholly owned by the Irish national electrical utility, ESB, and is headquartered in Dublin, Ireland.

The signing of the MSC constitutes the successful conclusion of a two-year process that began in October 2016 with the ratification of the US$257-million-dollar grant to the Government of Liberia, by the United States Government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

In addition to the Government of Liberia, the United States, Norway, Germany, Japan, the European Union, the World Bank, USAID and the African Development Bank, who are all major contributors to Liberia’s energy sector, sit on a High Level Steering Group (HLSG) run by the LEC Board and were regularly updated during the procurement process and final selection ESB International as the new LEC Management Service Contractor.

ESB International has four decades of experience, having worked in 120 countries around the globe with projects implemented in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia.

Of note, and contrary to a recently published newspaper article, ESB International (ESBI) is currently working for the Electricity Corporation of Ghana, the Ghanaian national power utility, in a engineering advisory and management consultancy role.

ESBI will also be responsible for several key deliverables, which include: Building the capacity of local Liberian managers and staff through a structured and comprehensive training and development program (that will take place both here in Liberia and in Europe), that will ensure the creation of a succession management resource pool.

From this resource pool, a Liberian counterpart staff team will in due course be selected on merit and appointed to work as counterparts to the ESBI management team.

This will ensure that when the ESBI contract expires, a trained and experienced Liberian management team is in place and capable of assuming all aspects of the management of LEC.

The selection of this counterpart team on merit is core to LEC’s succession plan to ensure the sustainability and ongoing viability of all LEC’s business operations in the best interests of the Government of Liberia and the ordinary people of Liberia.

To operate and maintain LEC’s Generation, Transmission and Distribution systems throughout Liberia, To support GoL in achieving targeted levels of connections, electrification and network expansion, To substantially improve the commercial, operating, customers service and financial performance of LEC
The Contract is funded through a grant from the Millennium Challenge Corporation and is for a period of 3 years with the possibility of renewal, by the Government of Liberia, for a further 2 years based on the requirement and ESBI’s performance.

If this extension is given it is envisaged that ESBI would operate with a reduced team who would act as advisors to the newly trained management team.

The new MSC differs in several ways from the previous MSC in the following ways: It has clear performance milestones that must be met to allow payment of the MSC, It brings a much larger team of experienced experts to work alongside and train its Liberian collogues, Unlike the previous MSC, ESBI is responsible for the entire Liberian grid and not just Monrovia, It has a significant training and skills uplift component, It will select all managers on merit and hard work.

The LEC Board of Directors will provide oversight supervision of the MSC throughout its lifespan. In addition, an independent Contract Monitoring Consultant (CMC) will also monitor the MSC and review all reports and performance.

ESBI as the new LEC MSC is proud to adhere to International standards of transparency and anti-corruption without exception or deviation.

With this agreement, ESB International joins LEC with a clear mandate to grow and improve the Liberia National Electricity Grid. The LEC customer base, which currently stands at 49,227 residential and 500 larger customers, will be increased in accordance with system expansion plans.

This is another major milestone in helping the LEC deliver on its core responsibility, which is to increase access to reliable, stable and affordable electricity throughout the country in a safe, prudent and timely manner.

Authors

13 COMMENTS

    • so what? The company is an Irish company. Liberians will be selling electricity and receiving light bill payments under the table. Thank God we have an honest person in charge. Do you think Liberians have a monopoly on honesty? Let us hear. Go ask Jewel about her family in government and Weah about all his street friends and Ellen handovers.

    • You are pretty ungrateful Mr. Cephas. What have you done today that is worthwhile? Have you contributed? Be grateful that the Irish, Americans, Germans, Chinese and Poles continue to support efforts to bring Liberia up to some semblance of a 2018 standard of living. Live in abundance and gratitude.

  1. It’s not white man to running the LEC Company from Ireland but it is the Liberians don’t know what to do for the LEC.Let the LIBERIAN care for the government.

  2. Cphas,
    If a white man is brought in from Ireland or anywhere in the world to train our men and women, it’s all good.

    Most of our institutions do not function properly because “some sppointees” who manage influential institutions of government (ex.LEC) are inexperienced. Please note that I am not accusing the management team at LEC. Maybe, the gentleman who’s brought in from Ireland (as you said) is on board to train our young men and women. In this computer and global age, a very good amount of training is an absolute must for “some” of our man and women.

    The problem in Liberia is that “some” Liberian people like big titles, sadly, the performance level sometimes falls below 50%.
    Let’s hope that LEC will improve with the help of foreign expertise. Cephas, your point is correct. I am giving LEC the benefit of the doubt.

  3. Liberians are something. You all don’t hear that Liberians stealing light, all you see is a white man. So the white people who have a black man as their boss should now think twice? Most of you are racists that is why you cannot be blessed by God. Liberians stealing Light and cannot pay their bill. So you rather be in the darkness than light. Wow.

  4. Dennis
    I wholeheartedly support LEC for doing the right thing. Someone at LEC is a good thinker, peroid. Dennis, to tell you the truth, I wish LEC could hire 100 more white people. Or if the ministerial appointees of Mr. Weah cannot function to full capacity, more white people should be brought on board to teach our people.

  5. For the young audience, there was a time in the sixties when Liberia had many private companies running things efficiently in Liberia thus creating lots of jobs……one that comes to mind is a company called Shamrock Electric that was responsible for Liberia’s Electricity before LEC was created.

    Despite the economic boom under President Tubman’s “Open Door Policy” at that time, he did not develop the interior parts of Liberia except Monrovia and his home town…Harper City.

    I believe, the Liberian Government should get out of the business of running public utility companies. In many advance and progressive capitalist economies, public utilities (airports, seaports, mass transports, water and sewer, telecommunication, etc.) are managed and operated by highly qualify private utility companies.

    Government sets environmental policies and the necessary regulations for utility companies to abide by. These utility companies generate revenue for the city or government. They pay taxes and run like any other highly skilled concession companies in Liberia like FIRESTONE or used to be concession companies in Liberia like LAMCO, BONG MINES, LMC, VAMPLY, LIBSUCO, B.F.GOODRICH and just to name a few.

    Liberian government is too bureaucratic and inefficient in managing revenue generating businesses like mass transit, airport, seaport, water and sewer and light companies. These entities should be privatized and run like any professional companies regardless of the nationalities and race of the people who run these companies unless they violate Liberia’s labor laws.

    Racism is etched in Liberia’s constitution, and it has permeated into the minds of few backwards small-minded thinking racist Liberians thus crippling economic development after 170 plus years of Independence.

    Help us oh God to be open-minded to know that the world is way, way, bigger than small Liberia.

  6. In his televised state of the union speech today, Weah told the Liberian people that the constitution needs a revision. Weah said unequivocally that a section of the constitution that forbids non-blacks from being able to naturalize must be abrogated. Weah is 101% correct.

  7. You know we start discussing the right things now in our society. Privatization is the key to any society development…. But the citizens should start petitioning their lawmakers on these issues… Because the issues are going create jobs for them..

    I went to school in Bong Mines, the road from Kakata to Bong Mines was Never paved until I left from there in 1990… There has ben mismanagement of our country and resources Period.

    It is time to put these discussions before our lawmakers.. Privatizing makes those who put their money in a company to select their Board of Directors. The Board will than select a Manager to carry on the affairs of the company… Sometimes the Board requires that a Manager has portion in the company. If your money is a company as a manager do you think you will screw up? No way.

    It is time to Privatize our Agencies.. to create jobs…

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