By Edwin M. Fayia III
An alarming number of Liberian Electricity Corporation’s (LEC’s) customers in New Kru Town on the Bushrod Island in Monrovia have described LEC’s supply of power to their businesses and schools as ‘irregular and unstable.’
Some of LEC’s customers affected by that corporation’s ‘irregular and unstable’ delivery of this all-important commodity say they have been receiving electricity in no more than increments (small-small portions).
The resulting ‘on-again-off-again outcome has led many customers to believe that LEC is ‘rationing’ its product and has been doing so ever since the provider began half-heartedly supplying their homes and businesses with current.
“Some of our customers are losing patience and our businesses are seriously hampered,” we were told.
Last week Friday, the Public Affairs Department of the Ministry of Public Works hinted to the Daily Observer that on one occasion, the LEC failed to supply current for two straight days.
“Such situations,” the MPW official intimated, “render most—if not all departments and the staff of each—unable to carry out regular functions.”
Customers in New Kru Town claim that for three days running, the energy outfit did not supply current for reasons yet to be explained.
In a 45-minute tour of the New Kru Town Community on Wednesday, LEC’s customers in the area told this paper that as a result of this fluid (fluctuating, unstable) situation, their commercial and other activities and ventures are being short-changed.
In other interviews with various business people in the area, they all expressed the belief that LEC is purposefully rationing power-supply to their small operation.
Registered Nurse Mohammed Kromah pointed out that, for the past three days running, his drugstore has not been supplied with LEC current.
“LEC is actually rationing current to some of its customers for reasons I personally do not know,” Nurse Kromah stated.
He underscored the need for the LEC to design some realistic strategies that would ensure the sustained provision of current to his medicine store and other businesses in the community.
Mr. Isaac Weah, the principal of the Bushrod Foundation School, remarked that owing to the irregular supply of current, the computer, and science laboratories have been shut down.
Principal Weah indicated the power rationing has been affecting the academic programs of the school for the past several months.
He also disclosed that the school has been connected to the LEC’s power grid since 2002, but there has not been a constant supply of power to the school.
“We have approached the LEC field service personnel about challenges the school faces when it comes to maintaining our computer and science courses,” Mr. Weah explained.
But pleas to the LEC over the past few months have not yielded any results, “There is a complete lack of interest in customers they should be anxious to serve,” Principal Weah said.
Queen Dahn of the Queen Business Center, claimed that the irregular provision of current to her business entity has lasted for three weeks.
When questioned as to whether she has been regular in paying bills to the LEC, Madam Dahn pointed out that she has been regular in settling bills at the LEC’s Commercial Department.
Madam Dahn indicated that early closure of the business—owing to darkness and other security concerns— are just a few of the effects of the inconsistency in forking the electricity over to them.
Leroy Porte, a prominent Liberian Machinist, called on the LEC’s management and field operations staff to move swiftly in order to restore power to New Kru Town’s citizens.
Mr. Porte, also a long time resident of New Kru Town, sounded an urgent appeal to the LEC management to prioritize the constant supply of current in order to minimize regular waves of armed-robbery in the area.
“If we have a constant supply of current here, our safety is guaranteed from criminals roaming the Borough,” Mr. Porte pleaded.
When contacted for comment on the customers’ claims, LEC’s Operations Manager, Thomas Gonkawon pointed out that the energy entity is in the improvement stage and efforts are being exerted to meet customers’ satisfaction in the supply of current.
Manager Gonkawon admitted, however, that LEC is contending with challenges in the provision of a sufficient supply of power to the hundreds of customers and businesses in Monrovia.
He also reminded their customers that there are some huge challenges that have to do with the generation department of the corporation, adding that there are socio-economic issues associated with the provision of adequate supply of power to its many customers in Monrovia and its environs.
Manager Gonkawon concluded by saying that they have graduated from the emergency provision of power supply and is now working out concrete plans to meet up the growing demands from customers and potential customers in Monrovia.