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Marylanders, LEC disagree over bill payment

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Confusion has ensued between residents of Maryland County and the Management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation in the county over non-payment of electricity bills.

Residents are complaining that despite purchasing two transformers on their own at the cost of US$20,000, the LEC management is demanding them to pay bills, something that has sparked row in the county.

In July this year, the Management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation Maryland Chapter, issued circular, calling on residents to visit the corporation’s office to pick 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 end of July.It added that anyone, who refuses to pay, would be disconnected and asked to pay a fee before reconnection.

The communication disclosed that the LEC Maryland office has yet to receive any payment or money from central government on behalf of power users as is being circulated in the county.

Although Superintendent George A. Proud pronounced on local radio station that due to the Coronavirus pandemic, government decided for citizens to benefit free electricity for one month from June 8 to July 8, 2020, but the Management of LEC said since that pronouncement by Superintendent Proud, it has not received a dime from the government.

Speaking in an interview on Monday, August 10, the president of the Maryland County Youth Association Thomas Kuma, said it is clear that citizens in the county shouldn’t pay bills other than maintenance fees because the power being used in Maryland County is under the Poverty Reduction Strategy of the former administration, arguing that it has not been turned over formally to the Weah administration.

According to him, since the Ghanaian electrification group planted light poles and installed primary or tension wire, no company has won bid for the power distribution.

He claimed former Maryland County Superintendent, Betsy Kouh Toe only asked Mr. Wallace Dennis to serve as caretaker, adding that though Mr. Dennis hasn’t won a bid, his team has been asking users to pay bill, something, he considers detrimental to ordinary citizens in the county.

Youth president Kuma also disclosed that following a meeting local authorities, it was confirmed that residential areas in the county should pay US$ 5.00, while businesses pay US$10, including connection fee which is US$50.00, respectively.

He lamented that while these measures are in place, Mr. Dennis and his teams are still asking citizens to pay bills, instead of maintenance fees.

“Let me say to you my people, being a youth president doesn’t mean that we can’t speak for our people, if anyone comes to your house in the name of bill collection, just call. We can’t allow people in this county continue to enrich themselves while the ordinary people suffer”, he added.

“You were here when the National Chairman of the Coalition for Democratic Change came and said that our people are crying for bill payments and the money is allegedly not going into the government Revenue so where is the money going”, he asked.

Kuma said a team has been set up to go after anybody from Mr. Wallace Dennis in the name of disconnecting citizens from the power.

Residents of Maryland specifically Zones 2, 3 & 4, spent about US$20,000 and bought two transformers that are currently being used in those communities. When this paper contacted the LEC Maryland chapter, the head there said he couldn’t comment without authorization.

By Patrick N. Mensah, Maryland–Editing by Jonathan Browne

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