The Managing Director of Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), Joseph T. Mayah, has disclosed that all of the country’s regional and internal energy projects are still on course in several phases.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Observer yesterday in Monrovia, Mr. Mayah said the first phase of the Hydro Electric project will be completed in 2016. The project was delayed as a result of the Ebola outbreak which drove many technical experts and partners out of the country causing the project to come to a standstill.
As for the West Africa Power Project (WAPP), Mr. Mayah said as a result of hard work, Maryland and Nimba counties have been connected at full capacity.
“The WAPP project is also intended to connect in its initial stages, countries in the Mano River Union (MRU) Basin including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and La Cote d’Ivoire as an integrated approach to trans-boundary power supply for its citizens, businesses and investments,” Director Mayah explained.
According to him, the WAPP project is expected to connect 18 communities with power supply in Nimba, Grand Gedeh and Maryland counties as specified in the work plan documents.
Commenting on the Grand Gedeh power connection and supply, Mr. Mayah disclosed that the project was delayed due to the just-ended Ebola outbreak, which led to the departure of the contract’s expatriates from the country.
The WAPP initiative is a sub-regional endeavor intended to interconnect all member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to ensure socio-economic development.
Based on these accomplishments, the LEC Commercial Department Crew is expected to visit the port City of Harper in Maryland County and Ganta in Nimba County, where 80 customers have been recruited to carry out the commercial aspects.
In Ganta alone, 600 customers have been identified and are expected to start paying light bills to the LEC, to ensure constant power supply to homes and business entities.
Mr. Mayah also noted that personnel of the entity’s Commercial Department are due to visit Harper, Maryland County to put into place commercial services to ensure the effective provision of electricity in that part of the country.
Adequate provision of electricity would require addressing the three vital components of generation, distribution and connection in any given society.
The LEC MD indicated further that all the funding partners are prepared to honor most of their commitments in the form of financial resources and technical assistance for the realization of all the energy projects in the country.
He also disclosed that the expatriate contractors of various electricity projects have returned and resumed work at the Mt. Coffee Hydro Electric Plant in White Plains, Montserrado County.
Funding for the first unit of the Hydro power project has been mobilized by the government through donors and other bilateral partners in the energy sector.
“Two weeks ago, a mini donor conference was held in Monrovia that discussed how to mobilize funds for the final phase of the Hydro power project,” Mr. Mayah indicated.
For the Bushrod Island’s LEC Project, Mr. Mayah said there are three projects ongoing, but were also delayed as a result of the Ebola outbreak.
He also disclosed that the Norwegian and Japanese contractors and partners early this week informed the LEC management of their readiness to return and start work since the WHO has declared the country Ebola-free.
In 2013 the Government of Japan provided a US$26 million grant to the Liberian Government to build 10-megawatt heavy fuel oil plant and help LEC with equipment for the construction of power lines in Monrovia and other areas.
“Another LEC Project on the Bushrod Island has received financial commitments from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (ABEDA) to Liberia’s energy sector as a soft loan amounting to US$12 million,” Mayah added.
The LEC management, he said, will shortly begin environmental studies, procurement procedures and a management team set up for the implementation of the project.
As for the World Bank-funded energy projects, Director Mayah said the government secured a loan of US$16 million to build a 10-megawatt plant comprising of smaller units owing to customers’ demand for the services.
He noted that as the demand for power increases, bigger units would be built to ensure the effective and efficient distribution of power to the customers.
“After the bidding initiative through a competitive bidding process, the cost was reduced to US$12,000,000 and the LEC management was able to save US$3-4 million dollars,” Director Mayah asserted.
He urged Liberians, and partners to continue to bear patience as the LEC and the government exert efforts to restore electricity to the nation and its people.