By Mark N. Mengonfia- firstname.lastname@example.org
MONROVIA-One of Liberia’s major problems since the end of the civil unrest has been a stable power supply to all of the communities in the country.
Former Liberian President, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf tried to restore power supply to Liberians, but did not succeed in that quest as power supply is still a major challenge during the George M. Weah administration despite her over-worked political slogan: “small light today, big light tomorrow”.
Liberians have complained of power outage or no connection to the Mount Coffee Power Plant because it has over the time, lacked the capacity to supply the citizens of Liberia.
Against this backdrop, efforts have been employed by the Weah-led government to ensure that communities get connected and one of the means is, by asking friendly nations to help the country with power supply.
Liberia is one of the countries connected to the Transco-CLSG transmission power line, a line that connects Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea to electricity.
Speaking Tuesday, August 16, 2022 in Congo Town at the LEC Substation, the Liberian President, George M. Weah pleaded with community residents and citizens of the country to disengage from stealing power as it was not the right means of getting connected to the power grid.
The Liberians leader started his statement during the commissioning program in France by telling the EU delegation representative to Liberia that “It is not about mouth talk, but about actions.”
He said, “I will not be too long. I am a man of short words, but action.”
The Liberian leader asked the management of the LEC substation to employ every effort to stop those would-be power thefts.
While he called for proper measures to be put in place to stop power theft, he called on citizens to take responsibility as the power was in that community for their use and a proper connection will greatly help them.
He said Liberians have to take responsibility asking a rhetorical question, “Why should we steal electricity?”
According to him, Liberians are the one to take care of what should benefit them, so having a Liberian as head of said entity is important.
Although, the Liberian leader had gone for commissioning of power supply but he did not ignore a plead for the construction of hall in that part of Liberia to benefit citizens.
He promised to build the hall to help community’s residents have a place they can converge for issues of importance.
He called for the management of the LEC to employ any means that will stop people for detail
Yesterday’s commissioning program was done by Government of Liberia and the European Union (EU).
The commissioned constructed Congo Town Electricity Substation will enable the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) to address the increasing electricity demand in Monrovia.
Speaking earlier, EU Head of delegation to Liberia, Ambassador Laurent Delahousse, said the project seeks to connect 41.000 households in Monrovia.
“I want to thank the government for facilitating the construction of this infrastructure. I thank the Contractor, the Supervisor and his Representative, our Technical staff for rigorously monitoring the works and ensuring that we settle for nothing, but premium quality”, the EU head of delegation said.
According to him, all the citizens of Monrovia who have been waiting to receive electricity can now steadily see their communities being legally connected to the electrical grid.
“But let me be clear, illegal connections to the electrical grid are unjustifiable, stealing electricity is an offence punishable by law” he said.
Illegal connection power puts in danger the lives of many, “With the risk of explosions and fires caused by the illegal overloading of the grid. Do you know that in some communities, LEC teams are attacked by people who steal power! It is therefore essential that government provides more support to LEC to fight power theft”, he said.
According to him, since the Government of Liberia called for all development projects to put an emphasis on training and technical education, the just commissioned project has already funded a traineeship for more than 40 young engineers, boys and girls, working with the contractor on a daily basis, for a minimum of six (6) months, adding, “many have secured employment following the traineeship.”
He outlined some of the projects the EU has, and is undertaking in Liberia such as the Monrovia Consolidation Project, with a budget of around US$60 million, the Rural Electrification of the South East of Liberia, with a project of around US$50 million.
According to him, since a stable and well-regulated environment in the energy sector is a precondition to attract the private sector, the European Union is also funding a Technical Assistance to support the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission and the Ministry of Mines and Energy.
“Let’s not forget that the European Union financed, via the European Investment Bank, a major part of the 1350 km of the Transco-CLSG transmission power line. Linking Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea; this line brings the integration of high-quality electricity networks in the region”, he said.
As my friend the American Ambassador Michael McCarthy said yesterday: “I would never tell a President who is elected by the people what to do, but I think the President knows what the best moves will be.”