On Thursday, December 1, 2022, the Chairman of the Cabinet, Minister Musa Dean, Acting CEO of LEC, Monie R. Captan, Ministers of Mines and Energy, Information, CI Energies, Transco CLSG, headed by its General Manager Mohammed M. Sherif, officially energized Liberia through the Transco-CLSG interconnection line.
Also present at yesterday’s event was the National Legislature, members of the Diplomatic Corps, including the US and the EU Ambassadors, development partners - AFDB and the World Bank, Representatives of CI Energies and the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC).
“Today, what we see here is the fruit of strong collaboration between CI Energies, CIE, the LEC, Sierra Leone, Guinea, our financing partners, as well as the West African Power Pool (WAPP),” said Mr. Kouadio Djaha, Central Director for Exploitation and Heritage of CI Energies. This project comes about through the willingness of leaders from all four countries and partners. Today, CI Energies is happy to share high voltage power from La Cote d’Ivoire to Liberia.”
“Indeed this is a laudable effort by the CLSG countries that befits a round of applause,” said Mr. Mohammed Sheriff, General Manager of Transco CLSG. “I remember back in 2012, the groundbreaking of CLSG was held here in Liberia,” “Today, the CLSG project implementation is far advanced and has a 98% rate. I will like to thank the President of Liberia and the presidents of La Cote d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Guinea for this great effort. We will like to thank our donor partners, Ministry of Mines and Energy, Finance and the LEC for the hard work in making all this a reality.”
According to Transco CLSG, back in 1982, Heads of States put in place a regional energy policy to promote a regional energy market within the Sub region. Their vision became a reality in 1999 when the West African Power Pool (WAPP) was created. Thereafter, the West African Power Pool developed the WAPP master plan through which the CLSG was prioritized in 2012, with the objective to finance, construct, operate, maintain, and own the interconnecting lines between Member States. At present, four of the five CLSG substations in Liberia, have been completed. The fifth which is the Botota substation, is close to completion.
“Today is a very active day for Liberia. We have just left the Energy investor Forum and now this. Christmas came a bit early on December 1’st for Liberia,” said Mr. Michael P. Korkpor, Commissioner, Liberia Energy Regulatory Commission. “As we switch on, we had to sign a power purchase agreement. The power is not free and power theft is unacceptable.”
LEC’s Power Purchase Arrangement (PPA) with CI Energies and CIE, is a commercial agreement for the purchase and supply of electricity which will be gradually increased to meet growing energy demand in Liberia. From all indication, December 1, 2022, represents a big step forward for Liberia, in improving education, health, security and the livelihood of urban and rural communities. The agreement offers a long-term electricity supply arrangement between the parties and will ensure the viability of trade on the transmission line between benefitting countries.
“I feel excited and proud to be a part of such momentous moment,” said Hon. Gesler E. Murray, Minister of Mines and Energy. “I applaud the President of Liberia, Dr. George Manneh Weah. Now we can declare that Liberia is being energized. In all this good effort, power Theft and commercial loses has been a major problem to our national development. I will like to take this time to thank the LEC Anti-power theft task force being led by Madam Mary Broh.”
According to CI Energies, this PPA runs for a three year term and is renewable. They however stressed that all parties will have to play their role in order to make it sustainable. According to the energy provider, Liberia could not be turned on earlier because of some conditions precedent which have now been met. CIE has now delivered to Liberia, 25 megawatts. This amount will be stepped up to 27 megawatts in January 2023.
“I want you all to join me in giving a round of applause to Mr. Monie Captan and the LEC,” said Mr. Michael McCarthy, US Ambassador to Liberia. “When the new LEC management came in, there were those who expressed doubts, but today we witness that Liberian leadership cannot only succeed but thrive. Let’s also applaud the Government of Liberia, for its support to the entity. There is no development without sustainable access to electricity”
The CLSG, according to the Management of LEC, is a sub program of the West African Power Pool (WAPP), which is intended to create a competitive energy market that will bring affordable energy to countries of Sub region thus promoting economic development and increased access to electricity. Under the PPA with CI Energies and CIE, LEC will increase its offtake from 27 megawatts to 50 megawatts in the second year. There are plans to consider higher capacity based on growing energy needs especially from the mining sector.
“The energy we are purchasing and I emphasize purchasing, has been earmarked to fill the energy gap created in the dry season, due to low water levels at Mt Coffee Hydro,” said Mr. Monie R. Captan, Acting CEO and Chairman of the Board of LEC. “A special thank you goes out to the President of the Republic of Liberia who has made access to electricity, a priority of his administration. He has ensured the allocation of critical resources to the LEC, through the Ministry of Finance and development Planning.”
As LEC commence the importation of power from La Cote d’Ivoire, it is also carrying out a massive Anti Power Theft campaign being supported by Madam Mary Broh and the Liberia National Police (LNP). So far the campaign has yielded very encouraging results. Within only two weeks, and just within Paynesville alone, over 4,783 customers have been found to be engaged in some form of power theft. To date, a total of 5,435 customers have requested meter connections.
“I want to tell you the Liberian people that the people power they bringing here is not free,” said Hon. Musa Dean, Acting Chairman of the Cabinet. “Those of us who are here in the country, are to tell the people, that there is something they call “Sell pay”. This power they are giving us, we will have to pay. The Government of Liberia will continue to provide the needed resources in order to meet our power demand. Every customer should pay for the energy they consume. The more we pay, the lighter our burden becomes and soon it will all go away.”
LEC and partners are also in the process of constructing a 20-megawatt solar power project and the expansion of the Mt. Coffee Hydropower Plant by two additional turbines. This partnership is between the World Bank and the Government of Liberia. Additionally, the West African Power Pool, GOL and the World Bank are undertaking a feasibility study for the development of a 148MW hydropower plant upstream of the St. Paul River.