It took workers of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) five days to remove a light pole many described as ‘dangerous’ last Sunday to avert what seemed an imminent danger that could have affected dozens of residents of the Township of West Point.
The township is currently threatened by its worst-yet case of erosion, which would eventually prevent vehicles from entering the densely populated slum community.
In addition, an LEC pole with insulated and non-insulated wires that supplies electricity to the township, had been undermined by the erosion and was at the point of being uprooted, thereby forcing residents in the vicinity to leave in fear of their lives.
“We were afraid of being electrocuted by accident should the light pole fall on any of us,” a resident said. And when they were alerted, LEC workers managed to remove the light pole, after five days.
Residents expressed gratefulness to the LEC workers for removing what they felt was a threat to their lives, due to reports of electrocutions in the community and other slum communities in Monrovia.
President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf recently ordered the temporary relocation of those who were made homeless by the advancing ocean. The National Housing Authority (NHA) relocated 17 households to a new location in VOA, near Brewerville. An additional 14 zinc houses were recently completed by NHA to house an equal number (14) of households.
The number of temporary habitats for the erosion victims is growing from 150 to 5,000 people, residents and West Point Township officials said.
The group working along with the office of the West Point Township Commissioner and the Disaster Victims Association, with offices in that township, has reported that the work is progressing and that by the dry season most of those affected would be relocated.
In a related development, most if not all of the zinc houses affected by the recent erosion have been washed away, while the sea continues to make desperate advances on the paved road.
Meanwhile, West Point residents with pre-paid electricity service have complained about the slow pace of the urgency the LEC attaches to addressing their technical problems.
“I have been out of current for over a year and I am now being assisted by a neighbor. They (LEC) cry everyday of power theft but they are responsible for it,” Aleu Sambola complained.
A member of the main mosque in West Point confirmed the frustration LEC customers are under.
“The transmission that supplies current to our mosque blew up over a month ago and every attempt to get LEC to repair it has failed and we are now using a generator,” he said.
It may be recalled that during their recent appearance before the National Legislature, the leadership of the LEC named power theft as one of the major hindrances they face, with a monthly loss of over US$250,000.
A source confided to the Daily Observer that the situation of power theft is so grave that some youth together with some former and present employees of LEC have established their own network of meters to supply homes and businesses.
At a recent seminar for journalists at its Waterside headquarters, an LEC spokesman said contrary to negative reports about the LEC showing lack of effective response to customers’ issues, the corporation is putting mechanisms in place that will take care of the issues raised above to ensure that Liberians enjoy their money’s worth.
He warned that power theft, apart from the loss to the corporation, has been responsible for the deaths of young men and therefore ‘stealing power and die young’ is not what any young man should aspire for.