The Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) will on Monday commence a major campaign to disconnect customers who owe the corporation large debts and those consumers who are illegally connected to its electricity distribution network.
According to the release, the LEC staff will also carry out an inspection of installed electricity meters, which is also intended to disconnect those customers who are illegally bypassing or tampering with their LEC’s meters.
It is LEC’s intention to prosecute, in accordance with the full rigours of the law, those consumers found to be stealing electricity or to have tampered with meters.
In addition to the outright theft of electricity committed by those connecting illegally, these illegal connections also overload the network, causing transformers to burn out, damaging LEC infrastructure, thereby depriving legal customers of electricity supply, often for long periods, because LEC does not have the financial capability to purchase replacement equipment.
LEC will commence this disconnection operation on the morning of Monday 12th March in the Sinkor area of Monrovia and will deploy a number of well-equipped teams to ensure the effectiveness of the operation.
It is LEC’s intention that this campaign will be expanded and continued across its entire network in due course.
LEC’s commercial losses are approximately 49% and this extremely high level of losses is having a hugely negative effect on the corporation’s ability to carry out its day to day operations, the company says.
Because of this unsustainable level of losses, resulting in an extremely low income stream, LEC is limited to purchasing only emergency supplies to repair network faults.
The corporation is unable to purchase equipment and materials to extend its network and connect new customers and is accordingly almost totally dependent on Donor agencies to fund this vital element of its operations.
The Liberia Electricity Corporation’s chief executive officer, John Ashley, has stressed the need for the corporation to work with lawmakers of the 54th Legislature to set up a special court to handle issues relating to power theft, which now causes the entity to lose 49 percent of its power generation.
The court, if set up, Ashley believes, will address the huge losses at the corporation.
Mr. Ashley indicated that the management believes that a number of LEC employees are also involved in the illegal connections, warning those involved in the illegal connections to desist before they are disgraced publicly.
“We are generating and supplying 100 percent out of the generating stations, but only getting paid for 50 percent, which is unfortunate. This is causing us to lose half of the institution’s revenue that has the propensity to bring the LEC into financial crisis,” he said.
LEC appeals to all its customers to pay their bills on time, to refrain from connecting illegally and to advise LEC of anyone requesting sums of money to facilitate connection to the electricity network.