Senator Amara Konneh

Urgent Call for Reform: Overhauling Liberia’s Electricity Corporation for Economic Growth and Accountability

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Urgent Call for Reform: Overhauling Liberia’s Electricity Corporation for Economic Growth and Accountability

The same journalists who caused significant reputational damage to our country in 2018 when they reported that two large containers of newly printed Liberian Dollars made their way from the Freeport of Monrovia to the former President’s house – without proving it – and later became basketball-playing buddies of the same former President they accused of theft is at it again. This time, they are paid agents for the embattled and inefficient CEO of a key public corporation, the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) – which is being rebuilt with significant public resources to primarily alleviate Liberia’s pervasive poverty.

To those paid agents and career blackmailers in Monrovia who have joined the LEC debate, I played an important role in resuscitating the CEO’s public career when I hired him to head the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) constraint analysis team of which the former Finance Minister was a member and lead economist under my direct supervision. He later served as head of Liberia’s Millennium Challenge Account, which shut down and left the country due to poor performance on the MCC indicators as the Weah government was unable to secure a new Compact. This issue I am lifting is not personal.

The issue at LEC is bad corporate governance that is contributing to the suffering of its customers and constraining economic output. No amount of threats will prevent us from calling on the President who ran on a change agenda to fix it by injecting new dynamism into this vital public corporation, which, if properly managed, could expand economic output and put Liberians to work.

The fact is, LEC has capacity. But its management is lousy. Here are some basic facts:

First, there is a consistent growth in the base and peak loads since 2017. Peak load demand grew from 69.06MW in 2022 to 84.03MW in 2023. In 2024, the load is projected to grow to 104.9MW. The total number of customers on the LEC network by the end of 2023 was 274,054 compared to 199,441 in 2022.

Second, energy supplied went from 200GWh in 2018, to 263GWh in 2022 and then saw a spike that brought 2023 total energy generated to 463GWh. The billing rate has improved from 43.7% to 53.4% from 2022 to 2023. However, Aggregate technical and commercial losses slightly reduced from 54.1% to 50.7%. Although this trend highlights improvement from past years, it also shows that LEC is billing and collecting revenue for only about 50% of the energy generated. This means that the remaining 50% of energy generated is unaccounted for, which is estimated at $40 million per annum, very significant. The operational inefficiencies that enable this trend to persist must be confronted. If the GOL owes LEC, don’t stay silent on it; but everyone was afraid of the immediate past regime to say anything until now. This is our argument!

Third, the LEC grid comprises 13 Substations located in three counties interconnected by a 66kV Transmission network over 375.3 km long. Currently, 9 of these substations are situated in Montserrado county, one (1) substation is in Bomi, while the remaining 3 substations are situated in Margibi County. However, the RIA substation which was recently commissioned and energized was gutted by fire five days into its operations, which needs urgent attention to keep our only international airport, another economic outfit, functional.

Lifting these important governance issues is our argument. This is no “showmanship” or an attempt to “drag somebody in the mud.” Our fight is about Liberia.

We appeal to President Boakai to appoint a new competent Board of Directors comprising respected private sector actors and professionals as envisioned in the LEC Act. He should also appoint a new senior management of LEC (Managing Director, Deputy Managing Director for Administration, Deputy Managing Director for Technical Services, and Deputy Managing Director for Operations).

I am a public figure. No one needs to threaten to publish my so-called “corrupt deeds” to keep me quiet. Just publish them. Just make sure you support your lies with facts or we have the courts decide the facts. I am back in Liberia to champion good governance. Period!

Next, LEC’s financial position is tomorrow. Change means change!

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