‘No One Will Die from Power Theft and Lack of Electricity’

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President Weah and ministers listen to a presentation from the LEC management. Photo Credit: Executive Mansion

–Says Pres. Weah, Wants competition in the energy sector

President George Weah says Liberians are not willing anymore “to die as a result of power theft and the lack of electricity,” an Executive Mansion release said.

According to the release on Friday, the president said the inadequate supply of power to the people dates back to 1986.

“I came here to look for job in 1986 and [the situation] is the same. Nothing has changed,” he said. Suggesting a remedy, President Weah said, “If it means that we will have to bring other competitors to help you people (LEC) expedite the process, then so be it.”

He recalled that when he was a senator (Montserrado County), he ensured that the LEC management was invited on many occasions to provide clear-cut reasons for its failure to provide services to the people and bemoaned the lack of transformation at the LEC since it was formed.

President Weah meanwhile noted that if the problem has been that the LEC does not have the capacity to do the job alone and in the shortest possible time to get people in the various communities connected, then it means that there is a need for some competition.

“If it means that they need some help to expedite the process, then there will be a need for other private people to come and help with expediting the process, in order to satisfy the needs of the Liberian people,” President Weah said.

President Weah and ministers listening to a presentation from the LEC management Photo Credit: Executive Mansion

President George Weah has meanwhile mandated the management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) to improve the speed and quality of its services to the people of Liberia, according to the release.

He blamed the management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) for doing little to meet the growing demands of the populace which has triggered disenchantment and upheavals among the people.

President Weah said the apparent lack of inadequate capacity on the part of the LEC to improve its services indicate that a viable alternative must open up the electricity sector by sourcing out distribution and other services to competent private companies.

“In these modern times, electricity is a basic need for all and my government will not allow anyone to play with such a need,” the president said in a meeting with the management of the LEC on Thursday, December 13, at the company’s Waterside headquarters.

“Since the LEC is finding it difficult to meet a high demand for electricity, something that is causing our people to be upset, the solution is to open the sector so that private companies will compete in servicing the growing power need of the people,” the President said.

The President noted that allowing competition in the electricity and energy sector will solve the problem of power theft and under-distribution of electricity to the people and the resultant uprising for connections.

President Weah acknowledged growing and widespread illegal connections, which he blamed on LEC’s inability to provide urgent needed services and lack of patience by citizens.

The LEC management acknowledged the President’s concerns but alluded to challenges the corporation is facing. In a presentation, the corporation outlined several challenges, including procurement procedures and power theft, which has led to the loss of US$35 million annually.

But the President told the LEC management that it needed to double up and overcome the challenges because Liberians are not waiting for power-point presentation to ease their discomfort due to the lack of electricity.

“For me, I am a practical person. I am not fond of much theory,” he said. “Our people need light today, and we must find the solution quickly.”

2 COMMENTS

  1. I am so glad Mr.Weah is finally speaking up about electricity for the country. Those government appointed morons at LEC and LWSC should be let go. Public utility corporations should be competitive and run by private corporations with some degree of government oversight in regards to rates and safety standards. It is also worth noting that if government cannot pay their bill for power consumption, they should be turned off like any private consumer.

  2. A wise person once said, “A smart government is a government that thinks outside the box. This is a metaphor that means to think differently, unconventionally, or think from a new perspective.

    It is about time our leaders begin to think outside the proverbial box and think differently on ways to rapidly bring light & water to the city of Monrovia and its environs. It is necessary at this time to either privatize the utility companies (water and light), or create a joint public/private partnership with government oversights to make utility companies in Liberia more competitive on the market. Such competition in the market place will help drive down prices for the consumers.

    For too long, Liberia’s water & sewer (LWSC), and electric corporations (LEC) have been monopolized by these two entities. These two corporations are too bureaucratic and antiquated. They lack the necessary operational budget needed coupled with inadequate technical facilities to meet the high power and water connectivity demand.

    These two corporations also lack adequate technical manpower to efficiently satisfy the high demand for light and water in Liberia. These utility companies infrastructures were heavily damaged doing the war. It will take reputable private utility companies with deep pockets (that are financially equipped) to come in on competitive basis in order to rebuild these broken infrastructures and meet the necessary demands for power and water connectivity.

    However, utility theft (water & light) will continue unabated because the poor and the unemployed masses do not have the financial means to pay for these usually high utility bills. Mr. President, it’s the difficult economic situation and financial constraints: high unemployment in Liberia that is mostly responsible for the exponential increase in criminal activities in the country.

    As the wise person once said, “A smart government is a government that thinks outside the box.” It’s time for this government to think differently and unconventionally in creating more jobs to put many unemployed Liberians back to work in order for them to afford paying their light or utility bills, thus cutting down on power theft.

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