Communities Vow To Protect LEC Installations Against Power Theft
Several communities have undertaken to protect installations of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) from criminals engage in electricity theft and causing the corporation huge revenue loss.
The communities made the commitment following the launched of a Community Engagement Outreach and Public Awareness Campaign aimed at informing and educating community residents of the dangers of electricity theft as well as the financial constraints it pose to the revenue generation capacity of the Corporation.The LEC is currently losing about 50% of electricity generated to theft resulting into damage of over 100 transformers, which is detrimental to the overall growth and development of the corporation.
During town hall meetings with leaders and residents of Duport Road, King Gray, Fiamah, St. Mark Community in Airfield and Joe Tate Community in Congo Town Back Road, Communications Manager, Mambu James Kpargoi said management has adopted several strategies to address the activities of unscrupulous individuals who are in the habit of making illegal connections to LEC installations and power lines. He said the activities of these criminals have recurrently blown off transformers in several communities after overloading them beyond their carrying capacities.
“Power theft is causing colossal losses for the Liberia Electricity Corporation. This is inhibiting our capabilities to expand our network and extend our services to new customers,” Kpargoi said.
He said community engagement was a new approach to solicit the active involvement of community dwellers in the fight against power theft.
Mr. Kpargoi indicated that the LEC has begun replacing damage transformers but added that community dwellers are required to sign a commitment, assuring management that they would take ownership of the installations and prevent criminals from making illegal connections.
He assured that residents of management’s commitment to improving service delivery. Management, he said has adopted measures aimed at improving customers service and to reprimand employees engaging in malpractices. He named the establishment of a call center and short codes to enable customers and the public to expeditiously reach the LEC with complaints among some of the strategies adopted.
Mr. Kpargoi assured the community residents that management is working assiduously to address the challenges the corporation is confronted with in order to effectively perform its statutory responsibility of providing affordable and reliable electricity.
Network Supervisor, Brendan O’connor cautioned community dwellers to ask individual climbing light poles in the name of LEC for work orders before allowing them.
Mr. O’connor wants community residents to stop individuals doing illegal connections and alert the Liberia National Police to arrest them for investigation and prosecution.
O’Connor then urged the community dweller to be very vigilant because there are some individuals who behave as LEC agents and are doing illegal connections around the communities.
“Whoever that comes in your community pretending to be employee(s) from the LEC and wants to do a connection must show a job order to that effect, in fact, what we have done is to identify our people by number and jacket that they wear and you must see those numbers and take them down before anyone climbing a pole in your community,” Mr. O’Connor said.
During the meetings, residents raised concerns about quality service delivery as well as challenges being faced by customers to access LEC service.
They vowed to work closely with the LEC to ensure that unscrupulous individuals engaging in power theft are arrested and prosecuted.
They thanked management for initiating two-way communication with customers, which they observed is critical to restoring public confidence in the corporation.