By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland County
As an Indian firm, ALPHA TND LTD kicks off planting of light poles in Pleebo, Maryland County Electoral district#2, homes of residents of Pleebo, and Fish Town, River Gee County in Southeast Liberia are expected to be electrified following the arrival of the first consignment of 41 transformers in the region.
Speaking to reporters over the weekend, the company’s program manager, Anil Gaur, said all materials needed for the project, including streetlights, transformers, light poles, meters, and power cables, are being imported into the country.
He said the arrival of 41 pieces of 250-kilowatt transformers and other materials will greatly benefit both counties’ citizens.
Mr. Gaur disclosed that the firm has completed roadside clearing in concession areas of the Cavalla Rubber Corporation (CRC and the Maryland Oil Palm Plantation (MOPP) while planting light poles along the Maryland-River Gee highway ongoing.
The Pleebo-Fish Town corridor is a component of the Liberia Energy Efficiency Access Project or LEEAP, a US$ 31.8 million program jointly funded by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Union (EU) through the Government of Liberia.
It also includes the construction of 66KV double circuit transmission lines from Paynesville to the Roberts International Airport (RIA) in Margibi County, including the construction of two new substations (66/22Kv and 66/33KV) and medium and low voltage networks in communities along ELWA – RIA corridors.
Mr. Gaur stressed that the project, which seeks extension of existing power lines from Pleebo in Maryland to Fish Town in River Gee, will connect several private and public buildings, including business centers in 24 communities in the two counties.
He added that the project is providing jobs for over 200 local residents of both counties directly.
The ALPHA TND LTD program manager noted that the initiative is part of the Liberian government’s commitment to its Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development that seeks to expand and increase access to reliable and affordable electricity throughout Liberia.
In early 2019, the Government of Liberia and partners broke grounds for the electrification of the southeastern component of the LEEAP project in Pleebo City.
When completed, it will serve as a relief to residents of the two counties due to daily complaints from some residents of Pleebo why they are paying electricity bills despite purchasing transformers on their own.
Early this year, residents of Pleebo protested against demand from the LEC local management in the county to pay bills despite purchasing two transformers on their own at the cost of US$20,000.
In July 2020, the Management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation sub-office in Maryland, issued a circular, calling on residents to visit the corporation’s office to pick up bills for payment.
The communication, aired on various community radio stations in the county, indicated that bills payers, late bills payers, and non-bills payers should make payments before the end of July 2020, with a warning to disconnect electricity users that fail to comply accordingly.
County Superintendent George A. Proud had pronounced on a local radio station that due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the government decided for citizens to benefit from free electricity for one month from June 8 to July 8, 2020, but the Management of LEC said since that pronouncement by the superintendent, it has not received a dime from the government. Editing by Jonathan Browne