At least 45,000 new customers are expected to be connected to the national power grid provided by the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) along the Roberts International Airport (RIA) corridor in Margibi County.
The project is funded by several financing instruments that include the African Development Bank (AFDB), the European Union and the Liberian government.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, which was held in Schefflin Town, Margibi County on May 1, 2019, the project Coordinator, Henry Kimber, said the exercise is under the auspices of the Liberia Energy and Access Project (LEAP). According to Kimber, the project costs US$31.8 million to extend the national grid, which comes from the Paynesville sub-station, and extends as far as the RIA.
Kimber said about 45,000 households are expected to be connected when the project is completed.
He informed the residents that when the project was initiated in 2013, it was estimated that 14,000 households would have benefited but, based on the prevailing condition and its urgency, the plans changed to the minimum of 45,000 for the good of the residents.
The project is a combination of loans and grants; as such, it is not free of charge as it has been perceived by the public.
However Kimber recalled that, on many occasions, when donor-funded projects are implemented, people think it is free, thought that is not the case.
In order to distribute electricity to the various communities, Kimber said authorities of the Ministry of National Defense (MOD) provided a parcel of land to construct the sub-station in the area.
He then challenged the LEC team to ensure that the project is delivered by 2020, the selected period.
“At LEC, we are not political, so we don’t discriminate between the poor or the rich, everyone is entitled to electricity, which is security in itself for all, irrespective of societal statuses, because our mandate is to connect everyone legally. But must do so in the frame of the law,” Kimber said.
Meanwhile, Paschal Buckley, LEC Chief Executive Officer, has said the construction of the sub-station in that part of Liberia is essential, because the RIA Highway is the first gateway to the nation’s capital.
“When the project is completed, it will attract investors, because electricity brings growth and opportunities to improve livelihood leading to attaining quality education; it provides security and good health to all,” Mr. Buckley said.
Buckley however frowned on those carrying out illegal connections, because it creates electricity hazard, burns transformers, produces high voltage for those who are legally connected, and poor quality of supplies, which puts a heavy burden on the corporation.
The head of EU Delegation to Liberia, Theodorus Kasper, said that EU is making a tremendous contribution in Liberia’s electricity sector; “therefore it needs to be turned into success.”
“We need to show ownership to all EU taxpayers’ money that it is worth well to keep on investing in Liberia,” Kasper said.