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Energy boss decries power theft

The Minister of Lands, Mines, and Energy Patrick Sendolo says power theft poses serious threat to electricity growth in Liberia, noting that it undermines work done by the Liberia Electricity Corporation or LEC, while robbing government of revenue.

Minister Sendolo lamented that it is unfair for certain people to take their hard earn money to pay electricity bills, while others find it enjoyable to carry out the stealing methods just to have current, warning that anyone caught in power theft act will face the full weight of the law.

Addressing regular press briefing at the Ministry of information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism on Capitol Hill Tuesday, April 19, the Lands, Mines and Energy Minister said there are significant penalties for perpetrators who take pleasure in stealing current with no room for negotiation, because the laws are clear on the book.

He threatened to prosecute anyone found in the act of stealing electricity, disclosing that it has come to the attention of the Liberia Electricity Corporation that unscrupulous individuals are in the constant habit of hijacking lines just to steal power.

Minister Sendolo said government will invest 1 billion dollars on electricity with the expectation that the LEC Management will do well, and “then you have unscrupulous individuals on the other hand undermining the efforts of the government with ugly act. Let me make this clear that we Liberians must be held reliable for waste of time in government deliverable, because people can’t continue to have sleepless night just to respond to the plight of the citizens, then the same citizens undermining our efforts; that is unfair.”

The minister had meanwhile pointed out that as part of President Sirleaf’s campaign promise to the Liberian people in 2005 to deliver “Small light today, big light tomorrow”,the ministry was exerting every effort to making sure citizens have access to the “big light” promised by the President, adding “When we took over in 2012, there were three megawatts, but today there are 10 megawatts to supply.”

Sendolosaid about 8,000 residents are expected to be connected before the end of 2016, but added the biggest challenge is cooperation from the public. He said people were impeding efforts at the site where the work is being done which could cause serious delays in the project.

The Mt. Coffee Hydropower Rehabilitation Project has been identified by the Government of Liberia as the cornerstone of its objective to expanding access to sustainable, affordable, and reliable electricity for all citizens.

By Lewis S. Teh-Editing by Jonathan Browne

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