Low Supply of Electricity Contravenes President Weah’s Commitment to MCC

6
4250
Amb. McCarthy, in remarks, hinted conditions for wining another compact project.

The Millennium Challenge Compact, a US assistance program that has rebuilt the Mount Coffee Dam Reservoir and subsequently restored electricity to Monrovia, has preconditions that a country needs to meet. Speaking during the closure of the MCC Compact on April 28 in Harrisburg, US Ambassador Michael A. McCarthy disclosed that strengthening governance, making electricity affordable and available for citizens, as well as investing in citizens to have economic empowerment, are some of the preconditions that bring the development package under the Compact. 

During the ceremony, President George Weah acknowledged the assistance of the US and other partners’ assistance to Liberia and said, “Our selection as a country in the world put us in a privileged group that performed with distinction that qualified us to benefit from this Compact.”  President Weah also acknowledged that this opportunity is coming with an urgent responsibility as required by the American people.

“As President of Liberia, I take this responsibility seriously, and hereby assure the American people that my government will prioritize the due care required in the investment made in this country,” President Weah noted.

However, amid lofty promises to the US Government and others concerning the sustainability of the project, the current reality on the ground, being the scarcity of electricity, begets an uphill battle in terms of being able to fulfill the President’s desire.

Although the dam is since dedicated and the cost of electricity said to have dropped from 0.50 cents to 0.30 cents per kilowatt-hour (kwh), many communities in Monrovia remain in darkness while others that should be connected are yet to be connected.

At present, residents in the 72nd Community in Paynesville and those in the Rehab Community in the same Paynesville are without electricity.  72nd Community, residents claim, has been in darkness since September 2020 when the community’s transformer blew off, and the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) has failed to restore electricity there regardless of several demanding steps taken to replace the damaged transformer.

According to the residents, they have collected not less than US$200 and given to LEC field agents with the hope that LEC can bring them a transformer to restore their power, but they are yet to see electricity in their community.  

“We collected money and gave it to LEC two weeks ago and we can’t see anything.  Just imagine, since last September we have been in this condition.  We have staged protests to draw the government’s attention, but no way,” a female resident said.

Contact made to the LEC to ascertain the truthfulness of giving money proved unsuccessful, as there was no one to respond to the allegation.

The President, in order for Liberia to make progress in meeting the benchmarks for gaining another project, has begun taking steps by providing budgetary support to the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Authority to ensure that electricity is well regulated, and purchase transformers to enable communities receive power as required.

In spite of the effort, however, residents in several parts of Paynesville speak of being in darkness for a long time with some not even connected at all since power distribution began years back.

“To be connected to LEC is not easy in this country, my brother.  LEC people will come to you and you pay money to bring you current,” a businessperson selling cold water and street food said. “But after receiving the money, you will walk and walk until you get tired.  That is some of what is causing the power theft they are talking about.  How will you expect me to pay money, I am willing to pay current (electricity) bill, and you cannot bring me current?  I will get it some kind of way.” 

That “some kind of way” might be nothing short of power theft, which is one of the main concerns raised by Ambassador McCarthy.  He urged the government to take steps to reduce power theft in order to have LEC generate revenue that will be of a help to the government and the economy. 

President Weah noted that the absence of transformers is one of the “stories” behind the power theft. He said his government has purchased transformers to distribute in communities.

Additionally, the President said his administration has taken a step towards making power theft a criminal offense. However reactions to previous media reports indicate that power theft is facilitated by some field workers of LEC who go in the communities to connect people illegally after receiving money from community dwellers and individuals.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
    Liberia’s report card as it relates to the US Millennium Challenge Compact agreement with that country, just does not look that good for another round of Compact agreement, if measures are not put in placed by the regime.
    The report card is not a political thing that is determined by US State Department only. Although it is part of the US foreign aid package, how that aid package is awarded is determined by others agencies too.
    The two regimes did not fair at all. Of course Ellen Johnson Sirleaf got the attention of the people responsible by putting in integrity institutions for good governance, that was a major political plus for Washington to see that progress was being made. And that Liberia deserves some attention for moving in the right direction. But that was it. Building political integrity institutions got her the award.
    After that, it was down hill for the regime. No intentions to follow through with the integrity institutions. Bad governance practices were multiplied, and found in every political sectors of her regime. That the regime could not meet the standard of the Compact agreement. Failing every single year.
    George came in, and bad governance practices were the order of the day. The Millennium Challenge Compact report card for that country for a second chance, not good. The US Ambassador can tried to sell that report card, five years failure will not be that easy to sell for more money for more projects.
    George addressed the needs to have more trainings to help his country to pass. But with bad governance practices everywhere in his regime, it will take more than training. Committment is the key word, and that is not found in the regime of George. So Things Are Falling Apart. The citizens no longer referred to him as their Country Giant, Son of the Soil, Bad Road Medicine. The report card says it all.
    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !
    The citizens have forgotten about all those popular political names calling as before.
    Reality check has set in. What have you done for us lately, is in. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Even the US Ambassador is asking the same question about, what have you done for US lately . Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha !

  2. Liberia’s decision to join neighboring countries for the sole purpose of a uniform [ELECTRIC GRID], have created massive problems. It’s expensive. You don’t just change from 110/220-voltage @60Hz to 220-Voltage @50Hz with ease. Changes have to be made. Some [WIRINGS] in existing buildings must be replaced to accommodate 220-Voltage @50Hz ”CURRENT”. Unless, there will be possibilities of [ELECTRICAL FIRE🔥 HAZZARDS]. Liberia’s existing [BUILDINGS] are not totally wired for 220-Voltage @50Hz. The politicians should have had serious consultations with [ELECTRICITY EXPERTS]; preferably from Liberia and the U.S, before drawing conclusions to change Liberia’s electric-power grid from 110/220 Voltage @60-Hz to 220 Voltage @50-Hz. We were far better off; with dual voltage⚡ 110/220 @60Hz. In life, you don’t always have to be like everyone else. *”If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it”. Now, we have a [BIG PROBLEM].

    • Actually, it was Charles Taylor who started this transition to 220v, and it made no sense at all because his plan didn’t factor in the cost of retrofitting all those buildings with wiring for 220v. His reasons was he wanted Liberia to have the same voltage as other African countries. It was a wrong headed decision. Consequently, every now and then you have electrical fires. The fire at the Executive Mansion was caused by electrical fire because those were old wires for 115v. Liberian leaders don’t think about the consequences of their actions. It’ darn right stupid.

      • James; thanks! Very well said. I fully agree with you. Liberia should cut the losses short and reconsider. *Besides, we should not make the [MISTAKE] of being at the mercy of another nation; as the primary supplier of electric power to Liberia. We have our [OWN] ample resources; only waiting to be developed. A Hybrid-System, with the combinations of Fossil Fuels, Hydro, Solar and Wind power should strongly be consider.

    • The whole CLG power grid is a big scam. Liberia has seven major rivers and many other conduits for electricity infrastructure. This scam will only make electricity more expensive and benefit the funders (AfDB, World Bank, etc). Currently, we do not have the capacity to rewire existing buildings to facilitate the CLG grid. More fires will only occur. We have the expertise at home and abroad to develop our own smart electrical grid using hydropower, solar power, etc.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here