-US$9.5M for four substations
With a loan of US$9.5 million, the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) under the Liberia Accelerated Electricity Expansion Project (LAEEP) on Wednesday, July 25, broke ground for the construction of the Virginia substation, outside Monrovia.
The fund, which is provided by the World Bank (WB), is intended to construct four substations in Virginia, Gardnersville, Stockton Creek and Kle, in Bomi County.
According to authorities of the LEC, about 33,000 people in thirty-seven communities to include Double Bridge, Chicken Soup Factory, Johnsonville, LPRC Community, New Georgia, Doe Community, Shoes Factory, Topoe Village, Battery Factory, Daybreak Mouth Open, Dry Rice Market, Dixville, Iron Factory, Kebbah, Freeport Community, Caldwell, Virginia, Tubmanburg, and Bo Waterside are expected to be connected, following the completion of the project in 18 months.
The project’s objectives are to increase access to electricity and strengthen institutional capacity in the energy sector.
John Ashley, LEC’s chief executive officer (CEO), said building networks and substations will take time as lot of work has to be done.
“It is a long process and the corporation is asking residents to be patient,” Mr. Ashley said.
He explained that over the next 3 years, the donor-funded programs in the country will see 140,000 new customers connected to the corporation’s network.
Ashley said the LEC’s current database is about 53,000 people, adding: “With another 140,000 new customers expected to be connected over the next 3 years, we are going to have a huge impact on the corporation and on the lives of many Liberian citizens.
“In addition to the donor-funded program, the LEC will be hoping to do 30,000 connections with its own funds,” he said.
Upon completion of the project, Ashley said school children will be able to study their lessons at night, charge phones and store food in the refrigerator.
“It is a major change in the way people will live in a small community,” he said.
Ashley cautioned the residents to connect legally and report illegal connections to the corporation because it is damaging the LEC network.
For his part, Henry Kimber, project coordinator at the LEC, said in order to have access to electricity, the issue of generation, transmission and distribution should be done, noting: “The Mount Coffee Hydro Plant is producing a lot of power to provide electricity for the public.”
But in order for anyone to receive electricity in their home, Kimber said, the running of transmission lines, building of substations and connecting of wires to various homes must first be done.
“Without a substation situated in Virginia, residents will not be able to receive electricity,” he asserted.
According to him, the loan is meant to develop the country’s infrastructure at the LEC, stressing: “It is payable with interest.”
Mr. Kimber said authorities of LEC will need the assistance and coordination from different community residents.