Liberia Electricity Corporation Management to Appear Before House of Reps. to Explain Spontaneous Fire Incidents on Electric Poles
Monrovia – The management of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) is expected to appear before the House of Representatives today, March 24, to explain reasons behind spontaneous fire incidents on light poles across Monrovia and its surroundings.
The management will also be grilled on its refusal to connect some of its customers who have registered and its failure to replace damaged transformers and meters.
The decision was taken by plenary in its last sitting following a motion by Rep. Isaac Roland (District #3, Maryland County) based on a communication from his fellow Marylander, Rep. P. Mike Jury (District #1, Maryland County).
Rep. Jury, in his communication, requested plenary of the House to summon the LEC management and technical team to explain reasons of the continued fire incidents on the light poles.
Rep. Jury said he often witnesses fires on electric lines and poles in his vicinity, and when these fires spark and blazing, it is residents who throw sand at the poles in a bid to quench the fire.
He warned of a potential fire outbreak if nothing is done to address the problem.
“I crave the indulgence of plenary to invite the management and technical team of the Liberia Electricity Corporation to come and explicate why there is continued fire on electric lines and poles and what protective fire mechanisms are specified and strategized to deal with the frequencies of fire on electric lines and poles,” he said in his communication to plenary last week.
Taking to the floor to further convince his colleagues, Rep. Jury noted that although the service provided by LEC is essential to every citizen and resident, it is marred by malfeasance and malpractice.
“The manner and faction in which LEC employees go about providing the service with malfeasant and malpractice is abounding. It is an open fact that almost every day there is fire outbreak on the lines, and I am getting afraid that we are heading towards a major uncontrollable fire outbreak very soon,” he warned.
“I saw it prudent to draw the attention of the House so that we can look into this matter because if we treat it with tepidity or luke-warmness, I am afraid that we are sitting on a fire bomb. LEC needs to be called to attention and to tell the Liberian people what they are doing about how to protect our lives from fire outbreak.”
Meanwhile, the LEC is currently managed by a foreign firm, ESB International of Ireland.
Since the rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Hydro Plant, relative progress has been made on Liberia’s national electrical grid, but the gains are often overshadowed by power outages and poor customer service mainly created by theft and a stack of unpaid bills.
To address these challenges, the Government of Liberia has enacted a Power Theft Act which came into effect on the 4th of October, 2019.
The Act characterizes power theft as a national security threat, and establishes a system of prohibitions and penalties in relation to illegal connections; tampering with meters, transmission and distribution lines; and theft of LEC assets including meters, light poles, wires and transformers.
The Act makes all forms of power theft a Second-Degree Felony punishable by jail terms ranging from two years to seven years and fines ranging from US$400 to US$1000.