Officials of the Liberian government joined the United States Ambassador Michael McCarthy to inaugurate a refurbished Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) Customer Service Center (CSC) at Waterside, which aims to improve customer service delivery.
The facility was funded by the U.S. Government through the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact in the tune of US$500,000 to rehabilitate the LEC’s Customer Service Center, including improving upon the existing structure and providing furniture, equipment, training, and vehicles to strengthen service to LEC’s customers.
The reconstructed facility has a comfortable waiting area that can now accommodate over 100 customers, new offices for LEC staff, and a call center equipped with better technological tools for tracking customer problems, additional restrooms, and facilities for physically challenged and persons with disabilities.
“It is an honor to participate in today’s dedication of this Center, a project which underscores the strong partnership between Liberia and the United States, and the American people’s broader investment in this country’s electricity sector through the Millennium Challenge Corporation, USAID, and Power Africa,” Ambassador McCarthy said during the dedication of the renovated facility.
He added, “The United States shares Liberia’s hopes and joins its efforts to secure a more prosperous tomorrow for the Liberian people. Keys to that prosperity are inclusive of economic growth, investing in people, and rule of law.”
According to him, MCC, USAID, and other donors have supported and will continue to support access to reliable and affordable electricity, but a large responsibility now falls on the Government of Liberia and every citizen needs to be good stewards of Liberia’s energy resources and customers of LEC.
On the point of “responsibility”, Ambassador McCarthy said that it will be difficult for LEC to sustain the electricity network and expand access as long as it is losing huge amounts of revenue because of illegal connections and customers who cheat.
He said: “This situation must be corrected. The biggest offenders must be prosecuted and convicted under Liberia’s Theft of Electricity Act, while at the same time more equipment starts rolling-out to increase legal access to electricity.”
Monie R. Captan, Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Account-Liberia, who gave an overview and benefits of the project, said the facility was set up to improve LEC’s customer delivery service while ensuring that services were equally provided to women and socially disenfranchised groups.
In addition to the project, Mr. Captan informed the American Ambassador and government officials that the MCA-L supported the institution by setting up a gender unit at LEC to ensure that everybody’s voices were equally heard.
The customer service center, the MCA-L CEO said, is well equipped with a new integrated information management system to improve the efficiency of service delivery by linking different departments to a common platform and database.
According to him, this has resulted in better tracking of service order due to an improved link of customer service management and technical staff.
Also speaking, LEC’s CEO, Paschal Buckley, thanked the government and people of the United States of America for their unflinching support to Liberia, mainly to LEC, over the last many years.
He described the dedication of the facility as a visible indication of the deep and long-standing commitment of the United States to Liberia, particularly to the LEC family.
He said with the opening of this new facility, they now have the obligation to provide better and efficient services to the people of Liberia.
For his part, Deputy Finance Minister for Economic Management, Augustus Flomo, has lauded the US Government and people for the level of support that Liberia continues to receive from them.
He said the dedication of the LEC facility was not a surprise to them as government because Liberia and the United States have a deep standing relationship, which the two countries continue to enjoy.
“So, I will like to say on behalf of Minister Samuel Tweah and the President of Liberia, Dr. George M. Weah, that we are happy and pleased for this gesture.”
According to him, Liberia’s problem is hanging around two key things, including energy and infrastructures which “we classified them as a bidding constraint that we have to move in order to help the economic growth of Liberia and we know that the US Government and other partners are working with us to address these issues.”
In January 2021, the MCC and Millennium Challenge Account Liberia marked the close of Liberia’s Compact. The $257 million Compact aimed to encourage economic growth and reduce poverty in Liberia by addressing the inadequate access to reliable and affordable electricity and the poor quality of road infrastructure.
The Compact invested in the rehabilitation of Liberia’s largest power source, the Mt. Coffee Hydropower Plant as well as reconstruction of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation’s raw water pipeline, support for LEC’s management, training, and operational capacity, the establishment of the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission, and development of a road asset management system to support road maintenance planning.