Home Economy LEC Threatens to Be Robust In 2024

LEC Threatens to Be Robust In 2024

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By: Frank P. Martin

MONROVIA: People are stealing about 60% of the electricity generated in Liberia annually by making illegal connections to their homes and businesses, the state-owned power utility company has said.

The theft caused annual losses of about $35m (£27m), according to Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) officials.

“Counting back from 2022 to 2023, we were receiving seventy to hundred power theft cases within a month, but now we can factually say that this mean of robbing National Government has significantly depreciated. Our Task Force can now report between twenty to fifteen cases within a month,” Att. Patrick Saah Nyumah, Legal Aid to LEC Anti-Power Theft Unit (APTU) assigned at Du-Port Road Opened Field Office told The Independent newspaper over the weekend.

The stealing of electricity in the Country is robbing the utility of much needed cash to extend power supply to other parts of the country, Nyumah explained to our reporter.

He said, with frantic efforts and necessary measures being instituted by the LEC Taskforce, the team is working hard to curtail wanton lost to power theft.

“I can say this without hesitation, with the level of momentum and vigor this team headed by Madam Mary Taryonoh Broh, we can assure the Liberia Government that the issue of power theft, though it might not be totally eradicated, can be reduced
in the generation of government revenues,” said Nyumah.

According to him, though there are and will always be challenges to every struggle but, with the commitment and dedication of Madam Broh, alias ‘General Broh’, based on her no-nonsense approach in the performance of her duties, the lost to the state would be reduced.

Nyumah narrated that this 2024, the Anti-Power Theft Unit has strategized measures aimed at reaching and effecting the operations of the Task Force in communities for compliance to the LEC Power Theft Law; citing that this will require the participation of the relevant stakeholders from both the communities and LEC APTU, for massive awareness and sensitization on the risks and benefits associated with legal connections or better take power theft.

The Legal Aid of the APTU further noted that within their 2024 plans, efforts are underway to ensure meters are available to every community to avoid excuses as reasons for one involving into power theft.

Nyumah added that though there are number of challenges faced by APTU but one major among those challenges are the issue of honesty by costumers’ willingness to honor and commit to the recovery payment of fees for power theft whenever they are caught, but instead they would rather want to compromise the process.

He used the medium to applaud the head of LEC, Professor Monie Ralph Captan and his Co-Chair of the Liberia Ant-Power Theft Unit, Madam T. Broh, for ensuring that the needed logistics and necessary gadgets are available to enhance the operations of the taskforce in reaching communities.

Meanwhile, Madam Mary T. Broh has reiterated her commitment to government and people of Liberia in working to ensure the implementation of government policies.

She added that working with Liberia Electricity Corporation as Co-Chair and head of its Anti-Power Theft Unit APTU, she and her team are not going to shift from what it takes to curtail the issues of power theft.

Broh who is also current Director of the General Services Agency (GSA), disclosed that power theft is not only done by the locals or community dwellers, but also various nationals, including Lebanese, Chinses, Fulaness, Indians as well as government officials.

She asserted that “no matter one status and position, when caught, investigated and find liable for the stealing of power, there will be no room for compromise.”

Broh: “when our taskforce grab you and prove you wrong, we calculate from the time you have been using the power without payment, to the time you are booked, and you will pay that money in government revenue, followed by a warning, and thereafter when caught for the second time, another disciplinary actions will be taken against you.”

Liberia is trying to rebuild its power sector, destroyed during its civil war which lasted from 1989 to 2003.

The US had given financial and technical aid to Liberia to increase power connectivity, as part of the Power Africa initiative launched by former US President Barack Obama to bring electricity to 50 million people in sub-Saharan Africa by 2020.

The government has set itself the target of rolling out electricity to 70% of the population by 2030.

Power theft is a problem among both the rich and the poor. To tackle the problem, the power utility established a taskforce, which patrols neighborhoods and cuts off illegal supply.

The Mount Coffee hydro-electricity plant, destroyed during the war and subsequently rebuilt with donor aid, generates a lot of electricity, but the problem is that the state utility has limited capacity to distribute it due primarily to high rate of illegal connections, among others.

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