President George Weah is charging the management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) and the Ministry of Justice to cooperate on enforcing the power theft law.
He spoke at the closure of the Millennium Challenge Compact (MCC) and commissioning of the raw mater pipeline of the Mount Coffee Hydro on Wednesday, April 28, 2021.
The President said it is his understanding that the LEC has organized community programs to prevent power theft. “We must do all we can to stop the leakage of revenue to the LEC and the Government is committed to doing its part,” he noted.
According to the President, the government is also committed to paying its electricity bill to LEC. He added that when he became President in 2018 and under very difficult financial circumstances, the government settled all LEC arrears left by the previous administration, which stood at almost US$9 million.
President Weah disclosed that a year ago, even as the country was in the midst of the Corona virus pandemic, the government became current and owed LEC zero dollars.
“As a Government, we are committed to paying our bill and we will continue to make LEC payments an expenditure priority for this administration,” the President assured.
He went on to state that one of the major factors contributing to commercial losses at LEC is power theft.
Accordingly, he made mention of recent effort by government to pass a power theft law that makes stealing power a criminal offence.
The President vowed that his government is working to enforce this law. Hence, he used the opportunity to inform all Liberians and communities that stealing power is illegal and criminal and that the government will not hesitate to prosecute those who are in violation of the law.
“As we aim toward a new compact, we must ensure that this current Compact comes to a successful close by addressing all outstanding challenges,” President Weah said.
As stated by him, one of these challenges is the lack of transformers and meters for accountable distribution of power.
In this regard, he said government, through the LEC, is now providing transformers to various communities and meters to many homes that have not had these items for many years.
He urged the LEC management to move very fast on installing the new meters because the lack of meters is part of the power theft story.
Meanwhile, he revealed that the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission is now fully functional, and will have full budgetary support provided by the Government of Liberia in the next fiscal year.
He said the establishment of this Commission marks a turning point in Liberia’s energy sector as it creates an enabling environment for private sector participation.
The President sees the private sector as an engine for growth and as a means to meet the future energy demands of the economy.
“The support of the Compact to the electricity sector and specifically to the Liberia Electricity Corporation has been critical. As a country we have struggled since the end of the civil conflict to put the LEC back on its feet and to make the LEC commercially successful. The Compact support to the Management Services Contract with the Irish company ESBI aims to making LEC more viable.”
He therefore said government will continue to work with ESBI for the duration of its contract to ensure that this happens.