Liberia is poised to connect to its powergrid, large customers including plantations and mining companies if all goes well to meet a target of commissioning CLSG Transco power supply line from neighboring Cote d’Ivoire to connect targeted designations by end of March 2020.
At the beginning of CLSG Donors’ Coordination meeting in Monrovia Monday, 9 December, World Bank Liberia Country Manager Khwima Nthara, noted his involvement in making sure that this project comes to fruition due to the immense benefits Liberia stands to get, including supplying power to large customers including plantations and mining.
“Not only will Liberia be able to import power, but it will also be able to export power. But this project will also help with electrification, in particular being able to supply power to some of the large customers between plantations in the mining [sector],” Mr. Nthara says.
The Management of TRANSCO CLSG, a regional transmission company responsible for the transmission of affordable and reliable electricity to millions of citizens in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea is holding a major Donors’ Coordination meeting in Monrovia to discuss progress and challenges in implementing the CLSG project.
For Liberia in particular, Mr. Nthara indicates that the importance of the project cannot be overemphasized, saying energy is very critical in catalyzing development.
“I will speak for Liberia, we’re now about to enter the dry season, we are already anxious with regards to supply of electricity and therefore we’ll be looking forward to the commissioning of the CLSG line sooner rather than later,” Mr. Nthara says.
He adds that “we” know the extent to which it’s going to help alleviate the challenges that Liberia [has] been facing with regards to electricity supply during the dry season.
Going forward, Mr. Nthara expresses hope that there won’t be any surprises, saying he looks forward to the March 2020 target because this is a project that has been long awaited by the people of Liberia.
On the part of the World Bank and the development partners, Mr. Nthara recommits their support to the project, working with all of the stakeholders, including government and development partners, saying this will also be a source of revenue for the government.
Through the CLSG Transco Project, Mohammed Sherif, CLSG General Manager says Cote d’Ivoire will sell electricity to the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) and sign transmission service agreement with Transco CLSG for the power supply destination.
The supply destination, according to Mr. Sherif, could be substations in Yekepah, Nimba; Buchanan, Grand Bassa; Mount Coffey, Montserrado; Mano, for Grand Cape Mount, Gbarpolu and Bomi Counties and Botota for Central Liberia, Southeast and Lofa Counties.
Mr. Sherif details that all the substations in Liberia with the exception of Botota, will be completed this December.
He notes that the discussion in Monrovia is about telling the CLSG Donors that it is good to bring in the line and to help the Government of Liberia to do more transmissions and distributions given the financial and economic constraints the country faces.
At the same time, Mr. Sherir notes that the LEC has its own role to play to work internally on control as well as managing its system to cut down loses and illegal connections.
He indicates that “It will be very unfortunate when the CLSG line comes from Yekepah, Government of Liberia is not ready to connect the households,” noting that it is the responsibility of the government to connect the households.
“So were we to come in March and the Government of Liberia through the LEC is not ready to take on the electricity which is far … lower, affordable, than currently what we have, then it will be unfortunate, like I said,” he continues.
He narrates that when the lines come to Buchanan, Grand Bassa County and Mount Coffey in Montserrado County, the government is expected to be in readiness.
Also speaking, Lands and Mines Minister Mr. Gesler Murray says the energy sector remains critical to the development of the nation.
He urges the need to remove all illegal and non – paying commercial customers and illegal syndicates, if Liberia is to have any chance of meeting deadlines and demands. The meeting continues today, December 10 in Monrovia.By Winston W. Parley