“Independent Power Producers, An Opportunity to Address Demand Gap”

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Monie Captan, LEC Board member and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA-Liberia)

LEC board member Captan suggests, links power theft problems to shortage of materials need to expand grid

Authorities of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) said it is losing 62 percent of its revenue to power theft, amounting to US$4.26 million monthly, Monie Captan, LEC Board member and chief executive officer (CEO) of the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA-Liberia) has told a local development conference in Monrovia. The conference, according a release, was organized by the United states Agency for International Development (USAID).

Captan said the theft problem is compounded by a lack of connection materials that limits the corporation’s capacity to expand connections and generate the needed revenue, to sustain itself as a viable public utility.

According to the release, in spite of the rehabilitation of the Mt. Coffee Hydro Power plant and the generation of 88 Megawatts, transmission and distribution is still limited.

Mr. Captan said independent power producers that will be registered and licensed by the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC) will present an opportunity to address the demand gap.

The Electricity Law of 2015 created the LERC as the regulator of the electricity sector that will receive applications, screen, register and license private companies that apply to provide power.

LERC executive director, Augustus Goanu, said the private sector had historically provided more access to electricity than the LEC.

Goanu said the electricity sector needs to be privatized so that Liberia generates more revenue, to ensure effective service delivery.

He said an independent resource plan is needed aside the donor support as a basis for sustainability.

“Additional connections are expected to be done under the Regional power pool, renewable energy, mini-grid and cross border power supply as additional opportunities for increasing access to electricity in both rural and urban regions,” the release said.

To ensure growth and sustain the expansion, Mr. Captan said donor partnership will be needed to expand the national access and shifting generation source to more renewable  energy.

According to Captan, the lack of access to more reliable and affordable electricity is one key constraint to improving the economy of Liberia and reducing poverty.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I Certainly agree that the power sector must be liberalized by disaggregating the power generators from the transmitters, as well as the distributors to make power supply effective and efficient. Each can represent a unique sub-sector that holds so much opportunities for private sector development. By separating these stages in electricity production, it will prevent any form of monopoly while regulating them to avoid collusion among the players. It is about time that donors to the power sector in Liberia make liberalization a condition for any support to the sector (as World Bank did to Ghana (2000-2002), and the outcomes are clear. This is because, access to power directly and indirectly supports social and economic development in any developing country. Exploring also renewable energy sources is critical for rural development especially in high to access and reach rural communities that hold large populations.

  2. Interesting coincidence.

    Exactly 29 years ago on Friday, June 29, 1990, the suburb of Paynesville and possibly other parts adjacent, lost power supply.

    I remember sitting at home chatting with my parents around 9 PM local time (just about now), and noticed the light going dim slowly, very slowly.

    By Monday July 2, 1990, the NPFL attacked Paynesville.

    By Friday, July 20, 1990, the INPFL attacked the western suburbs of Monrovia.

    The rest is history and here we are still grappling with the effects of our civil war.

    I concur with Captan about the need for private sector involvement.

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