Liberia: Management at Mount Coffee Hydro Power Plant Refutes Claims of Mismanaging the Hydro


Harrisburg, Louisiana – The Management of the Mount Coffee Hydro Power Plant has refuted claims that they are mismanaging the dam, thereby, hampering the effectiveness of the Liberia Electricity Corporation.

Recently, it was reported that two of the four turbines at the Mount Coffee Hydro have been down and the Government of Liberia was still figuring out what led to the damage, despite a series of investigations commissioned by the manufacturer and the insurance company.

But in a conversation with the management team, the Maintenance Manager of the Mount Coffee Hydro-Power Plant Emile G. Karnga told journalists at the Mount Coffe Hydro-Power Plant over the weekend that there are four turbines that were installed but one of them got damaged in January of this year.

“The information that two of the turbines are damaged is false and misleading. We have three functional turbines,” the Maintenance Manager of the Mount Coffee Hydro-Power Plant said.

Mr. Karnga added: “We leave our family members’ homes and this is a work that we learned and we love doing. To say that we carelessly handled the hydro and we damaged two turbines is not true. It is a complete disservice to us.”

We Have Enough Power to Support the Grid With Three Units.

Also, Mr. Karnga disclosed that each of the four turbines constitutes 22 megawatts. The three turbines constitute 66megawatt. The Maintenance Manager of the Mount Coffee Hydro-Power Plant said with the three turbines, the hydro can still generate the needed power to the public.

“During the peak load is when we bring in the third unit. The fourth unit operation is not major but we still need it for a standby,” Mr. Karnga said.

He added: “After 6 pm, the peak load can reach up to 45megawatts. The highest we have gone is 50megawatts. Each unit gives out 20 megawatts. So, the total is 60 megawatts and we have gone 50megawatts the highest and so we are still left with 10 megawatts and so we have enough power to support the grid with three units.”

According to Mr. Kangar, even if there is another fault from one of another unit at the hydro, there won’t be a problem because, for him, the thermal plants at Bong Mines Bridge in Monrovia will help their system at the hydro.

“The system is built and designed in a way that we have power from two plants. We have the Thermal Plant and we have the hydro. Just in case we have any fault with one of our remaining three units, the plant in town will come on with one unit or two units in town and there will stay the flow of electricity,” he said.

Waiting on Finding from Foreign Experts

Decontee, Quaye Wesseh is the Hydro-Operation Manager. He says finding out the cause of Unit One being faulty is still ongoing. He added that experts are still looking at parts taken from the unit.

“So, I can’t tell you the root cause of what has happened but we are trying to maintain all of our maintenance and operational procedures to make sure that all of the units are on.

He added: “We don’t know the root cause of what happens. Specimens were taken from the unit and they were sent to the experts who provided us the unit. So, until then, we are yet to have the result. The final result from the actual producer of the equipment -that information will be sent out through management, not from us.”

We are not Responsible for Streets Lights Not Coming On

Also, there were reports in the public that the Management of the Mount Coffee Hydro-Power Plant is responsible for the ineffectiveness of the street lights.

According to the Hydro-Operation Manager, it is in the preview of the Transmission and Distribution unit at the Liberia Electricity Corporation to make sure that the street lights are effective.

“The T&D at the Bushrod Office is responsible for planting those street lights based on their job prescription and what the demand from the public called for through customer service,” he said.

Wesseh says it is their goal to reach out electricity to the peak of everyone but in the process of doing that, it is the responsibility of T&D adding that they are looking at how to get it done by their strategy for which they are carrying on.

He added that every appliance that is on the street is being governed by a protection system and the protection of the equipment determines how they function. Wesseh said, if the protection system has problems it will not function.

“Even when the load goes up to 40megawatts including the street lights and everything, we still have space to send more power down. So, the news of the street lights being down because of the hydro is false. Maybe it could be down for other technical reasons but it is not because of the hydro. The hydro is capable and we are sending the power. Those street lights are connected to the substations. The hydro is only for a generation and not for distribution.

He added: “We run the hydro 24 hours and we don’t shut down. We are generating the power that can put the street light on and if for any reason the street lights are off, we don’t know.”