The Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) says about 100,000 businesses and homes will be connected over the next two years in Monrovia and its environs.
Noel J. Walsh, head of LEC’s Special Taskforce, speaking at a news conference in over the weekend in Monrovia, admitted that the corporation has been slow in responding to power distribution in some communities.
“We have several projects that are currently ongoing and will see communities connected. These projects will focus on those that have been bypassed over the years. Donors are helping to fund many of the projects,” Walsh said.
According to him, about 4,500 customers have already made payments, and are yet to be connected due to limited meters in the country. “We are also focusing on customers who have faulty meters, which have increased to 3,000 plus customers.”
Mr. Walsh, however, called for stakeholders’ support, including community dwellers, and media practitioners in fighting power theft as the corporation continues to lose over 50 percent of power generated to illegal customers and criminals.
“Many of our customers keep complaining because of lack of connection after they made payments. “We have procured enough meters, including single face and double face and will begin connecting them,” Mr. Walsh said.
“We will connect at least 6,000 customers in Caldwell before the end of December, which will cover most of the consumers/customers. We want to clear all of our customers who are facing meters problem and will begin to focus on new connections,” Mr. Walsh stated.
He said the corporation is poised to increase revenue collection, which will help to connect more customers and also make power affordable for the people.
Mr. Walsh indicated that no entity will function properly in the wake of huge losses, especially over 50 percent of the power generated being consumed illegally.
“Additionally, we have begun revamping the corporation’s system to ensure that it’s digitalized. We want to ensure that customers stop paying money to individuals for power,” he said.
Commenting on the progress made by the corporation’s taskforce, Mr. Walsh said over 750 illegal customers have been disconnected over the past weeks while 400 customers also were connected.
Meanwhile, the Bushrod Island Magisterial Court has charged a 22-year old man, identified as Layee Keita for illegally tampering with LEC’s power lines.
Keita was arrested on Sunday, September 30 in the Clara Town community by officers of the Liberia National Police through the help of community residents.
“We consider this arrest as a major boost in the fight against power theft. The arrest of Keita will reinforce our campaign against power theft, which is negatively impacting the corporation’s revenue,” Winston Bedell, LEC Communications Manager said.
Mr. Bedell indicated that the LEC will use the law in dealing with individuals found impersonating as employees of the corporation or engaging into power theft.