THE LIBERIA ELECTRICITY CORPORATION EXPANSION PROJECTS UPDATES

Following more than a decade of violent conflict which destroyed the socio-economic fabric, institutions and infrastructure of the country, Liberia began regaining its stability with the signing of the Accra Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2003. Owing to the civil strife, power supply situation in Liberia worsened with virtual indication of total collapse if immediate actions were not taken to address such situation. Recognizing the significance of the energy (electricity) sector as the fundamental driver of all other sectors, especially those providing productive services, international partners including multilateral lending institutions decided to support the rehabilitation of the sector.

The Liberia Electricity System Enhancement Project (LESEP) is funded by the World Bank in collaboration with other international donors, including the Government of Norway (GON), Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the European Union (EU).

LESEP, an International Development Association (IDA) financing, was supplemented by funding provided from the Global Partnership for Output Based Aid (GPOBA) and the Africa Renewable Energy Access (AFREA) Trust Fund. Given the critical nature of the Liberian power sector, request for extension and expansion of LESEP was presented to the Bank and the Bank began the process under the Rapid Response to Crisis and Emergency OP/BP 8.00 in 2010 with the aim of directly supporting the rehabilitation efforts to improve and increase access to electricity through the financing of distribution services and enhancement of supply generation options on-grid and off-grid. However, the condition in the power sector remained highly critical, and the continued absence of electricity had the propensity to derail the fragile security situation in the country. This plus other compelling reasons, including the urgent need to invest in the electricity sector as a key driver for the economic transformation of the country and a major component of Liberia’s Agenda for Transformation,  gave rise to LESEP Additional Financing (LESEP-AF) and further extended financing under the Liberia Accelerated Electricity Expansion Project (LACEEP) plus LACEEP Additional Financing (LACEEP-AF).

 Liberia Accelerated Electricity Expansion Project (LACEEP)

The World Bank funded LACEEP project is expanding electricity from the City of Paynesville in Montserrado County to the City of Kakata in Margibi County and up to Wheala. The project is divided into three lots, which entail the construction of 66/33 kV substation in Kakata, the expansion of the existing 66/22 kV substation in Paynesville, and the construction of distribution lines in communities in Paynesville and Kakata. The project is connecting 25,000 new customers to the national power grid.

  1. Liberia Accelerated Electricity Expansion Project – Additional Financing (LACEEP-AF)

The LACEEP-AF enhances the impact of the LACEEP original by scaling up the activities

to connect new residential, commercial, and industrial users and strengthen the capacity of LEC. This will be done through the addition of activities under component 1 (transmission and Distribution) and component 3 (strengthening sector institutional capacity) which ensures increase in generation capacity that comes on line in the coming years that translates into increased and improved electricity services in Greater Monrovia and in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties.

The Project is divided into three lots. Lot 1: The construction of 66 kV transmission lines (Areas: 66 kV lines route: Bushrod SS-Virginia SS-Klee and Stockton Creek SS-Gardnersville SS-Paynesville).

Component 1: Extension of electricity transmission and distribution systems and connection of new users:

This additional financing will help to increase access to electricity in the North-West part of Greater Monrovia, as the capital has the highest density of population, and in Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties, two regions with important economic potential. Connecting large customers will improve LEC’s billing and collection.

Sub-component 1-A: Electrification of Greater Monrovia (North-West). This sub-component will finance the provision of electricity services to new users (including households, businesses, and industries) in various communities in the Greater Monrovia area. This will include the construction of new and rehabilitation of existing transmission and distribution networks (substations and lines), and connection of new customers. 33,000 new customers in all categories, including 13 industrial plants in the areas served by the Gardnerville, Stockton Creek, and Virginia substations are expected to be connected under this project.

Sub-Component 1-B: Electrification of the Monrovia-Bomi-Grand Cape Mount Corridor. This subcomponent will finance construction of the main electricity transmission and distribution infrastructure of the corridor, as well as connection of about 6,800 new users in the economic zones of Bomi and Grand Cape Mount Counties. The project will finance the construction of a transmission line at 66kV; distribution lines at 33kV and 22kV; and the upgrade of several substations, and construction of some new substations. Newly connected customers will include households, small businesses and several larger prospective users, such as large palm oil plantations and mining companies. Local health and educational centers are also expected to be connected under the project. This sub-component will enable access to cheaper electricity for the large consumers in this corridor which currently relies on expensive self–generated diesel based electricity. LEC could therefore broaden its customer base by incorporating these medium and large users to its customers’ portfolio.

Sub-Component 1-C: Project Management. This sub-component will cover the cost of preparing, managing, and auditing the component. It will include the financing of the necessary preparatory and safeguards studies and the costs of supervising the works. It will also provide the resources needed by LEC to manage implementation.

 Component 3: Support for the strengthening of LEC’s commercial capacity:

New activities under this component support LEC to put in place a professional management team, strengthen commercial management, and build local capacity within the utility to ensure sustainability. Improving commercial performance of LEC is a necessary condition for the utility to become financially viable. It is not however sufficient, as it will need to be complemented by the commitment of the Government of Liberia to ensure the financial equilibrium of the utility through cost recovery tariffs and/or government transfers. New activities to be added for each sub-component are described below.

 Sub-Component 3-A: Incorporation by LEC of modern management information systems. This subcomponent will help LEC to improve its operational performance in the key areas of commercial management and attention and resolution of incidents in electricity supply to its customers. Two state-of-art commercial information systems— a Commercial Management System (CMS) and an Incidents Management System (IMS) – which have been operationalized will help LEC to improve its operational performance in the key areas of commercial management and attention and resolution of incidents in electricity supply to its customers. This will contribute to strengthen the financial viability of LEC.

Sub-Component 3-B: Technical assistance to LEC. This technical assistance will be twofold:

(a) It will help to build local management capacity within LEC at the mid and top levels to ensure the sustainability of its operations once the management contract ends. In particular, it will support the incorporation of five qualified experts with managerial experience who will constitute the new LEC management team that will run the utility with efficiency, transparency, and accountability, using modern management tools. Recruitment of these five managers is ongoing with the assistance of a professional recruitment agency financed under the LACEEP. The AF will finance this professional management team during the initial phase of its work (between three and five years), after which they will shift to be on the payroll of LEC.

(b) It will also support LEC’s efforts to recruit (with LEC’s budget) and train Liberian professional in the use of modern management tools (CMS and IMS) to strengthen the commercial department of LEC.

The scope of component 1 (the expansion of access to electricity), and component 3 (the strengthening of the sector’s institutions) will be expanded through the inclusion of additional activities. As a result, the cost of each of these components will increase.

The activities under the AF include:

The Ministry of Youth and Sports Vocational Training Center, the West African Examination Council (WAEC) headquarters, Sime Darby Palm Oil Processing Plantation, and various schools and health facilities will be supplied from the Kle Substation. From the Medina Substation, Robertsport Water Treatment Plant, Cape Mount Technical Community College, Oreus Mines, Medina Rock Crusher, Schools, Health Care Centers will be supplied by LEC power. Lake Piso in Robertsport is one of the major tourist attraction in the country.

  1. THE MONROVIA CONSOLATION OF ELECTRICITY PROJECT

The Monrovia Consolation of Electricity project is funded by the European Union (EU), and it is expected to expand and increase access to electricity to 38,000 new users in areas covering Central Monrovia up to The RLJ Hotel Junction in ELWA, Paynesville. The project is divided into two lots;

Lot 1: entails the supply and installation of a 66kV transmission line and expansion works in six substations (Bushrod, Stockton Creek, Kru-Town, Capitol Sub, Congo Town and Paynesville).

Lot 2: entails the supply and construction of 22/0.4kV distribution network from Central Monrovia to Kenejah.

  1. Liberia Energy Efficiency Access Project(ELWA-RIA CORRIDOR & Pleebo – Fish Town Corridor)

The Liberia Energy Efficiency Access Project (LEEAP) is jointly funded by the African Development Bank (AFDB), the European Union (EU) and the Global Environmental Fund (GEF). The project is divided into two corridors and will expand and increase access to 45, 000 new users. The project will extend access to electricity within the ELWA to RIA corridor and the Pleebo to Fish Town corridor.

The project entail the construction of a 66kV double circuit transmission lines from Paynesville to RIA; the construction of two new substations (66/22kV and 66/33kV) in Schefflin and Harbel; the construction of MV/LV network in communities along the ELWA – RIA corridor; the construction of MV/LV network in communities along the Pleebo – Fish Town corridor; the connection of 45,000 new customers and the development of the institutional capacity at LEC, RREA and MME.

  1. Electrification and Grid Upgrade Project

The Electrification and Grid Upgrade project is funded by KFW Bank of Germany and is expected to deliver 16,000 new connections that will fill the gaps between the larger projects in areas such as Clay Ashland – Bentol- Fendell, Double Bridge-Pipeline-Police Academy, and Duport Road – Rehab communities.

The main components of this project consist of the connection of households as well as grid densification in the following three “gap” areas of Double Bridge – Pipeline and Police Academy, Du – Port Road to Rehab area and Clay Ashland – Bentol to Fendell.