LEC Clarifies Media Report

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John Ashley, LEC's new CEO through ESB International

The Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) says its attention has been drawn to a May 9 media report with inaccurate information regarding its working relationship between the senior management and employees.

The LEC management said it was unfortunate for the claim published in the media that the corporation was at a standstill due to strike action from employees.

According a release, the ESBI Management Team at the LEC is fully committed to working with their Liberian colleagues in order to improve the operational and financial viability of the corporation.

“One of our most important priorities is the building of internationally recognized best practice in management skills in our cadre of Liberian management colleagues,” the management said in a release issued over the weekend.

It said the new LEC management team is also engaged with the LEC Union and completed the signing of a management/union Collective Bargaining Agreement, which regularizes and dictates how the staff and management interact with each other. Significant benefits also accrued to staff as a result of the signing and implementation of the Agreement under ESBI tenure, it said.

In this respect, ESBI has completed a review of the skills and capacities existing in LEC and has prepared a comprehensive training program for LEC’s Liberian managers and an additional training plan that addresses skill gaps in all of LEC’s operational areas.

“On a day to day basis, we work with all our Liberian colleagues in a spirit of cooperation and trust with the aim of making LEC a key contributor to the economic growth of Liberia,” the management said.

The ESBI management team took control of the LEC on January 8, 2018 after being awarded a Management Services Contract (MSC), under an international open and transparent tendering process. The contract was reviewed and approved by the Government of Liberia.

Immediately prior to ESBI’s tenure in LEC, for the year of 2017, the corporation had been under the management control of the Interim Management Team (IMT).

As a priority the ESBI team arranged to purchase HFO, with the assistance of the Gov’t of Liberia, in order to provide power supply through the dry season to avoid sweeping power outages affecting customers.

The ESBI team also immediately engaged the Millennium Challenge Account, (MCA-L), and received approval for the procurement of essential materials, tools, and other equipment to allow LEC to maintain its network and continue to connect customers.

In addition, the World Bank and the German Development Agency have agreed to procure much needed prepaid meters to allow domestic customers to be connected.

In the absence of domestic prepaid meters and in support of President Weah’s pro-poor agenda, the current LEC management team introduced a “flat rate” connection for domestic consumers. This flat rate allows domestic customers, who don’t have a meter to get electricity supply for a monthly payment of US$40 or US$80, depending on their individual requirements.

This flat rate approach allows LEC to identify and register these customers on its database. When LEC receives the meters being procured by the donors, “we will install them in flat rate customer premises and their payment will then be on a prepaid metered basis.”

In addition to the provision of materials, tools and equipment to LEC, MCA-L is also funding the rehabilitation of LEC Customer Service Centre in LEC’s Waterside office, plus the construction of a new Customer Service Centre in Greater Monrovia, in a site yet to be determined.

These two Customer Service Centers will be equipped with state-of-the art communication systems to allow LEC to improve its interactions with its customers and make a dramatic improvement in its ability to respond to customer requirements.

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