By: Jerromie S. Walters
Lower Police Academy, Paynesville, Liberia: The Anti-Power Thief Taskforce of the Liberia Electricity Cooperation (LEC) has disconnected the Christ Intervention School System, a vocational school in Lower Police Academy, Paynesville, Liberia, for illegal connection.
Following its regular exercise on Wednesday, January 11, 2022, the taskforce established that the vocational institution was found in by passing the LEC connection, thus enabling them to have access to excess current.
“As you can see in this new meter that was installed by LEC, this is the main line from the pole; it enters into the meter, and this is the output, so they left the output and did direct tapping into the meter to get free power,” a LEC agent alluded.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Christ Intervention School was apprehended by personnel of the LNP that escorted the LEC power thief taskforce on the exercise.
He’s expected to be charged officially, in line with the power theft guidelines.
As part of the Liberia Electricity Cooperation’s anti-power-thief exercise, several other homes were disconnected within the Police Academy area for illegal connections.
It can be recall that the government of Liberia through the Liberia Electricity Corporation on Wednesday, November 9, 2022, launched the Anti-Power Theft Campaign, aimed at subduing the overmastering rate of power thief across the country.
Prior to the launching of the campaign, a taskforce was appointed constituting madam Mary Broh and other staffs of the LEC to combat power thief.
Since the campaign kicked off, the homes of prominent citizens, including government officials, as well as churches, schools, and mosques that were illegally connected, were disconnected, while individuals were incarcerated.
Howbeit, some Liberians have hailed the LEC for its commitment, while on the other hand, many have said the method can’t ease power theft across the country, as they believe the LEC should first ensure that meters are given to those who don’t have them.
The Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) was created by an act of the Legislature in 1973 to produce and supply economic and reliable electric power to the citizenry.
Unfortunately, the LEC has been engulfed by power theft, which has rendered the corporation unable to handle and effectively act on its national responsibility.
Since the end of the civil war, the Liberian government and its international partners have made significant investments in the rehabilitation of the Mt. Coffee Hydropower Plant and elevating the LEC to meet its national duties, but it appears the efforts are not yielding fruits.
On October 4, 2019, President Weah signed into law an act to amend Chapter 15 of the Penal Law by adding thereto a new section, 15.88, which provides for power theft.
Ironically, this provision was intended to recognize and treat power theft as a national security nightmare and consider different consequences.
On August 26, 2021, the U.S. Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Michael McCarthy, during a visit to the LEC, narrated that power theft and unpaid bills accounted for over 50 percent of the electricity produced by the LEC, which hugely threatened the financial sustainability of the corporation.
He urged the government of Liberia to ensure that an end is brought to power theft, as it has the propensity to result in a major setback for the LEC.