The deputy managing director for operations, transmission, and distribution at the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), Joseph Y. Howe, says the corporation is poised to provide stable electricity across the country in 2019.
Mr. Howe spoke to newsmen yesterday at the LEC’s Bushrod Island office in Monrovia when he indicated that the corporation will provide uninterrupted 24hrs electricity and increased access to power next year.
“We want to double the number of electricity users by 2019 and also reduce the price of electricity. The corporation will ensure that those using LEC’s current will not turn their machines off in 2019,” Mr. Howe said.
According to him, 80 staffs of the LEC are currently in Nigeria and are undergoing training in networking, power distribution, and repair of transformers, an initiative that will impact power distribution in the upcoming year.
“We have 34-35 megawatts and hope to sustain it in 2019 and add more people to the network from the hydro. Because of the management contract, this year has been tough for us; but the LEC is poised now to better handle connection and other problems,” he said.
He said people who are stealing electricity want legitimate power and because they cannot have it they get involved in power theft.
“We will also reduce the length of time customers take to get power. We will change the story and have a stable access to power. We continue to get some of the big businesses using LEC’s power and more are requesting for power,” he said.
He said the corporation has brought about 5,000 meters into the country, which will be used to replace customers whose meters are damaged, and also for people who have paid for their meters and are yet to be connected.
“The network is now more stable as compared to the past. We continue to be aggressive with the maintenance program. We also experience that a lot of transformers are being damaged, which is due to the demand on the network,” he said.
He said President Weah called on all government officials not to complain of problems as they have been appointed to solve a problem.
“The reason we have planned to breach the gap between supply and demand is that there is a huge gap between the power that is being generated and to the one being supplied,” he said.
He said the government has reduced its debt from US$9 million to US$800,000, which is welcoming news for the LEC.
“We still have challenges at the LEC in procuring meters and other connective materials. The LEC’s problem has now been elevated to a national security issue and gives the corporation the opportunity to do single sourcing. We are moving forward with all procurement processes and we are now procuring 90-100 pieces of transformers,” Mr. Howe said.
“We are not at the level the corporation should be moving in power distribution, because the plan called for increased access to electricity by 70 percent by 2030, which the corporation is below. We will not reach the 70 percent if the corporation keeps moving at the same level,” he noted.
He said negotiations with the Minister of State is ongoing to allow donors and partners to align their programs with the current government’s goal.
“We don’t want to see any contract lasting for more than three years, as it is supposed to move as quickly as possible. We need to move from PowerPoint, excess sheet and emails to actual work. Our people want to see that poles are planted and that power is distributed to their homes and businesses,” he said.
He added that the corporation has launched a campaign to connect street lights for the Christmas season, along with restoring broken poles.
“We have completed Fish Market to Vamoma, ELWA junction, Duport Road junction, Broad Street and other parts of Monrovia. Beginning today, we will be visiting various communities from 7 P.M. to 10 P.M., thereby ensuring that our people have full access to electricity during the festive season,” he said.