By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County
The Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC) has embarked on an extensive community outreach in Maryland County following a daylong engagement with citizens.
The daylong engagement held in Harper City and Pleebo respectively on Wednesday, September 13, brought together cross-section of citizens, including local authorities headed by Superintendent George A. Prowd, Harper City Mayor Melchizedek Toe, youth, women, and LIB-Energy Incorporated, among others.
The exercise was aimed at providing the Commission an opportunity to listen to consumers’ concerns and interact with them. Concerns range from quality services, electricity, pricing and news of a new company seeking license from LERC.
Harper City Mayor Melchizedek Toe welcomed the Commission and urged citizens to listen keenly and get a clear understanding of the LERC’s working.
The Chairman of the Board of Commissioners, Lawrence D. Sekajipo, stressed that the primary job of the Commission is to protect customers and service providers across the country and the operators especially, LEC to ensure that electricity is safe, stable, reliable, and accessible.
He said the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission is a statutory body created by the 2015 Electricity Law to oversee and regulate the electricity sector in the country.
He said the aim of the outreach is to provide information on the works of the Commission, complaint guidelines, tariffs, customer service and procedure for issuance of licenses to operators.
Dr. Sekajipo noted that electricity is life, and the Commission has a responsibility to give back to Liberians through electricity regulation with the gull knowledge that services are not free, users must pay.
He pointed out that the dream of the commission cannot be achieved if consumers of the electricity are bye-passing meters and stealing current in their respective districts and counties.
He disclosed that the commission has interacted with other electricity users in some parts of the country and Maryland is of no exception.
“Let me say; that we have come this far to listen to you as LEC customers and to hear from a new company that was awarded contract by the Liberia Electricity Corporation on March 30, 2023, for the management of the current from Maryland to River Gee County”, Dr. Sekajipo explained.
He said the sub-contracted company has not been awarded license yet, but from the hearing, the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission by law, will act within 20 working days.
LERC board chair assured that the hearing, which includes comments and recommendations, will be addressed before licensing LIB-Energy Inc. to operate.
He called on citizens to be law-abiding and to desist from illegally using the services.
For his part, Acting Managing Director, Abu D. Sanso, said the Commission has developed lots of regulations to ensure the smooth operation of service providers and customers, noting that it is important to reach out to the public.
He pointed out that the fight against power theft is a huge responsibility that every Liberian needs to address.
It is important for people to know that LEC reports to the Commission and can be held accountable if they are not doing those things that are necessary, Mr. Sanso added.