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.