Govt. Explains Energy Export -Promises Massive Community Energy Outreach Soon

MONROVIA : In line with Pillar Two of its Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD), the Government of Liberia under President Geroge Manneh Weah targeted the provision of electricity across the country as a means of ensuring macroeconomic relief and jobs to the Liberian people through the connection of 130,000 households or 780,000 individuals, all of whom have been connected to the LEC grid since 2018, thus increasing Liberia’s electricity access to more than 30 percent, the highest in the postwar period.

Against this backdrop, what the Analyst Newspaper has gathered is that besides the Weah government investing more than 65 million United States Dollars to bring electricity from La Cote d’Ivoire through the CLSG, which has substantially reduced the price of kilowatt per hour of electricity from 35 cents to between 19 -21 cents on average, the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) is now exporting excess electricity generated from Liberia because of the rainy season that allows the transfer of power through the transborder power generation conduit of the Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea (CLSG) line.

According to Liberia’s Minister of Finance and Development Planning (MFDP), Samuel D. Tweah, the Mount Coffee Hydro has generated excess electricity because of the rainy season, and that the LEC is now exporting its surplus generation on the CLSG. “Last month we exported over $500,000 due to favorable rainfall. This money goes against our current LSG debt,” he said.

According to the MFDP boss, export revenue from the excess funds collected will be credited against LEC’s bill with Côte D’Ivoire Energies (CIE), noting, “We expect to save approximately $2.5m this rainy season from export earnings that will defray some of our energy bills with CIE. The significance of this development is the demonstration of Liberia’s energy export potential.”

The clarification from Minister Samuel Tweah comes against the background of his recent statement during one of President Weah’s reelection tours where the MFDP Minister said Liberia is now exporting power to Cote D’Ivoire.

Although Minister Tweah’s statement has evoked mounting criticisms from many quarters regarding the elusive provision of electricity in many parts of Montserrado County, the Finance boss says the reason communities are not connected is due to lack of the distribution network in those areas.

“This requires funding to build a medium and low voltage transmission and distribution backbone and then all the transformers and service drop materials. Funding through donors takes time and we will get to all the communities in due time. LEC has already begun connecting some communities on its own and will continue to do so. But it should be understood that this is a very expensive exercise and resources are limited.  Problem of meters will soon be resolved as we will be receiving 100,000 meters next week. Let’s end the power theft so that LEC can collect its due revenue. Without this, we will not be able to pay for the extension of the network,” Minister Tweah informed this paper.

LEC’s Captan Confirms Export Earning Milestone

Buttressing the statement from Liberia’s Finance Minister, the Chief Executive Director of the LEC, Mr. Monie Captan had earlier said Liberia took the decision to increase energy exports because of the surplus electricity generated during the rainy season from the Mt. Coffee Hydro Plant.

“We are pleased to inform you that we exported $547,933 worth of electricity to the CLSG, while our imports through the same grid amounted to $76,740. Our net income from these exports stands at $471,193, which will be credited against our debt with CIE,” Monie Captan said.

The surplus energy export, he said, has been made possible through the optimal performance of the Mt. Coffee Hydroelectric Plant, which has benefited from the rainy season’s increased water flow, noting that the excess electricity generation has translated into export earnings that will contribute significantly to offsetting LEC’s energy bills with CIE.

Regarding the concerns raised by citizens regarding the electricity challenges faced by a myriad of communities in the outlying parts of Montserrado County, especially Lower Virginia and Brewerville, Captan said the absence of electricity in certain communities is due to the shortage of distribution network infrastructure.

“The reason communities are not connected is due to the lack of a distribution network in those areas. This requires funding to build medium and low voltage transmission and distribution backbone, along with transformers and service drop materials,” Captan said, noting that the expansion of electricity network is a costly and resource-intensive.

However, the LEC boss assured that his entity will soon address the issue, as the LEC will be receiving 100,000 meters in the next week.

“The Liberia Electricity Corporation’s endeavors to boost energy exports and address domestic electricity challenges underscore the nation’s commitment to achieving a more robust and reliable energy sector, while also contributing to regional energy cooperation,” he said.

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