By. Jerromie S. Walters
Monrovia Liberia: The Growing need for stable electricity across Liberia remains a triggering issue for the promotion of economic and social activities. The power grid which was refurbished through the Millennium Challenge Account currently produces less power for the supply of electricity in all parts of the country.
In an effort to boost the power grid and supply electricity across the country, the Government of Liberia is expected to sign the Power Purchase Supply Agreement with the CI Energies of Ivory Coast.
Addressing the Ministry of Information regular press conference on Thursday, October 13, 2022, Mines and Energy Minister Gesler E. Murray said he, along with the Chairman and Acting CEO of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) Monies P. Captan will October 21, 2022, lead a delegation of the Government of Liberia to the Ivory Coast for the signing of the agreement.
Not being specific about the cost of the agreement, Minister Murray noted that the Government is expected to spend around 11.34 cents per kilowatt as it is exactly what both Guinea and Sierra Leone paid upon signing the agreement recently.
The Mines and Energy Minister told the media that the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) management has concluded the negotiation with the CI Energies for the purchase of electricity through the TRANSCO CLSG TRANSMISSION LINE.
As the signing of the Power Purchase Supply Agreement is just in few days, the Minister expressed hope in also signing the Transmission Service Agreement (TSA) while on this same mission, as he said the signing of the various Agreements will see the first flow of power of 27MW from the Ivory Coast to Liberia beginning the December 1, 2022.
He said the import of cross border power will significantly reduce the power load shedding experienced during the past dry season.
The Power Purchase Supply Agreement is part of the West Africa Power Pool project which seeks to promote and develop power generation and transmission infrastructures as well as to coordinate power exchange among the ECOWAS Member states.
Stressing on details in the energy sector, the Mines and Energy Minister assured Government’s commitment in continuously working closely with development partners to rebuild the electricity infrastructure of the country.
“By 2030, the Government of Liberia aims to meet an anticipated peak demand of 300MW to serve l(one) million customers, connecting 70Yo ot the population in Monrovia and providing access of 35% to the rest the country”, she added.
Commenting on issues in addressing the dry season generation gap, he said
interventions will include
CLSG electricity supply repair of Bushrod Thermal Plant generators, procurement of HFO & LFO for thermal generators; and repair of the damaged Turbine Unit at the Mount Cofee Hydro Power Plant.
With efforts in restoring services to communities, Minister Murray said his Ministry and the LEC have embarked on preparation for the Christmas Season, which focuses on the replacement of approximately 63 damaged transformers in and around Monrovia. “This project will restore electricity
to many communities that have been out of service for some time now. We are also deploying 25,000 meters between now and the end of the year to ensure that most customers are metered and paying for their electricity consumption”, he intruded.
In increasing electricity access rate, the Mines and Energy Boss narrated that the RIA corridor transmission and distribution project will be completed by the end of this year.
Conspicuously, he said the Liberia Electricity Corporation has expanded its network and is currently providing electricity to Margibi, Bomi, Cape
Mount, and Bong Counties. “The number of new connections is expected to reach 200,000 (two hundred thousand) by the end of 2022. Maryland, Grand Gedeh, and Bong counties were already on the cross-border grid and will all soon be under franchise arrangements”, he alluded.
At the same time, he said the Liberia Electricity Corporation
(LEC) has a commercial loss rate of 50 percent, as such, he believes it is not sustainable and it undermines the effort
to achieve commercial sustainability.
In an effort to reduce commercial losses, Minister Gesler Murray disclosed that the LEC is ensuring that metering of all customers, including retrofitting post-paid meters to pre-pay metering, regular monitoring and disconnection of customers, enforcement of power theft law, responsiveness to customer complaints, and ease of customer connections through efficient processes and workloads.
Moreover, he announced that the World Bank has approved the construction of a new 20MW Solar Power Plant to be commissioned by December 2023.
“The World Bank has also
approved Mount Coffee extension of 44 MW to be completed in 2 years. Feasibility studies of Via and St. Paul Rivers for new hydro power plants have been completed and sources of funding are being negotiated which upon completion will add about 518 MW to our existing generation capacity”, he noted.