Going all out to stamp out power theft, the greatest menace to its operations in the country, the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), has introduced the GPRS meter, claimed to be a sophisticated system that will prevent power theft.
The General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) is a mobile data service on the 2G and 3G cellular communication’s global system for mobile communications (GSM), Foday S. Sackor, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director of LEC revealed.
Director Sackor made the disclosure yesterday during a campaign to replace rotten poles and check customers’ lines, which he said will continue throughout the rainy season. He said the campaign is intended to get more communities and homes connected.
The director said LEC has registered about 25,000 customers for the new GPRS meter system in the past few days, adding “We want to see all of our customers rushing to update their information for better service.
“We have a system of a smart meter gauge. This will help to increase the number of customers that are actually vending on our system, because you can’t bypass those meters again. These meters are GPRS sensitive.
“We are asking customers for their names and contact details to ensure that their information is updated, because some people have moved to different locations, thereby making the information within the database wrong. This will take time but we hope to get out of it soon,” he said.
The meters cannot be stolen and with regards to managing them, the system is more sophisticated for the convenience of the company and its customers, Director Sackor assured.
“This will now help us to start calling some of our customers and asking, “Why are you off?” and sending someone to their locations to have the persons or customers reconnected. This is the best way to manage utility, because we can monitor our customers and engage them directly,” said Sackor.
He said the GPRS will ensure that those who want to steal power can be tracked down by the system, which will solve the issue of power theft, and increase growth for the company.
In another development, Director Sackor said the management will shortly commence selling current through scratch cards at the various gas stations, foreign exchange bureaus and other outlets which will put a stop to customers standing in long lines to buy current as is presently the case.
“We cannot be selling a product that our customers cannot access. The more accessible the product is to the people, the more revenue the LEC gets,” Director Sackor admitted.
Meanwhile, the director said the management is concerned about some of the damaged or rotten poles and wires during this rainy season, and that addressing the situation remains important to his administration.
“We are rehabilitating transformers and damaged poles to ensure that customers don’t encounter serious problems during the height of the rainy season. We don’t want to risk the reliability of any customer’s power and so we are not allowing people to call us first, but rather taking the initiative,” Director Sackor said.
“We observe that some simple things keep our customers off and also lead to the LEC losing revenue. We want to assure our customers that this rainy season will be different and they will continue to get power from LEC at all times. The LEC team will be moving around and our customers just need to inform them about their problems.”