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Electricity regulator craves for unhindered funding

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The Chairman of the Board of Commissioners of the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC) Dr. Lawrence D. Sekajipo has urged the Government of Liberia and its implementing partners to provide uninterrupted funding to the commission for effective operation.

“LERC needs uninterrupted funding to implement its operations, because it would be difficult to function independently in keeping with the 2015 electricity laws without sustainable funds”, he said.

Dr. Sekajipo made the call on Tuesday, March 10, 2021 at the commission head office in Congo Town, when it awarded six licenses to the Liberia Electricity Corporation in keeping with its operation.

He noted that funding challenges could create difficulties in retaining trained qualified, experienced and reliable staff at the commission.

According to him, investment in the LERC would unlikely achieve the intended objectives of transforming the electricity sector of the country without continued stakeholders’ participation and involvement.

The LERC is a statutory body created in 2015 by the electricity laws of Liberia with the mandate to oversee and regulate the sector.

The commission began operation in 2018, as the lead entity for facilitating transformation and development of the electricity sector to attract investment, improve availability and adequacy as well as quicken the pace of access to electricity in a liberalized sector.

Dr. Sekajipo detailed that the 2015 electricity laws of Liberia and the regulations allow that an entity may engage in more than one electricity supply industrial activities, saying however, such an entity must obtain license for each of the distinct activities for which a license is required.

Terms and conditions of each type of license according to him, are defined in the license package, adding that by law, the LEC is required to obtain license for all aspects of its operations, and has complied accordingly, for which it was issued the six licenses for existing hydro and thermal plants.

Others include Transmission for operating the high voltage network, Distribution for operating the low voltage network, System operation for independent coordinating and control of flow of power, and energy on Liberia’s interconnected transmission system, as well as importing electricity through existing cross border lines.

Receiving the licenses, and making remarks on behalf of the Management of the LEC, Chief Operation Officer, Prish Govender said, LEC in the last three years has received huge growth from its customers base in the energy sector, adding, the growth has been supported by the Mount Coffee Hydro Power Plant, and the Bushrod Power Plant.

According to Govender, the growth has also been welcomed and supported by the CLSG transmission lines, and a significant investment in the energy sector.

“We are a energy sector that continue to experience challenge as it relates to commercial loses, as they try to connect all of customers”, he notred.

He then thanked the chairman of the Board of LERC and the government for support provided, while looking forward to having more of such discussions to deepen relationship and move the country forward.

The acting head of the EU delegation to Liberia, Miss Stefanie Marrone said, it is an honor to have represented the EU here, describing the awarding of licenses as a milestone event for the private operators in the energy sector of Liberia.

“I’m tired of repeating that the benefit of electricity are reaching all parts of society, together with the important economic growth that accompanies it”, she reiterated.

At the same time Miss Marrone emphasized the benefit of electricity in promoting social and human development for women, who have access to better quality of life, for children who can benefit from electricity to complete their education and to all, for the increase in security that electricity brings along.

By Lewis S. Teh–Editing by Jonathan Browne

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