Monrovia – The Chairman of the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC), J. Aloysius Tarlue, Jr. says the commission is committed to fostering an effective regulatory climate that will be result oriented in giving a new lease of life to the underperforming electricity sector.
By this pronouncement, member of the public are expecting a new direction in the implementation of the 2015 Electricity Law of Liberia.
The area of emphasis under the new order of transformative leadership that Chairman Tarlue has promised, “the right regulatory scheme will be set up to win investors’ confidence whilst addressing consumers concern”.
Speaking recently at a local hotel in Monrovia with stakeholders in attendance to review a draft regulatory instruments and procedures Chairman Tarlue reassured that the merger of best practice approaches to include competitive electricity market, private capital and enlightened regulation, would ensure remarkable progress in power generation and distribution..
He said LERC is aware of the enormity and has therefore assumed the preparedness to play its part in the process of transforming the sector through transparent and effective regulations.
He added: “We need the support of the Government of Liberia and particularly the Ministry of Mines and Energy in the specific area of implementing policies that would complete the unbundling of the electricity sector as envisaged under the law”.
The LERC chairman expressed gratitude to the Millennium Challenge Account-Liberia (MCA-L) and the European Union (EU) for support since it became operational.
Millennium Challenge Compact and GOL collaboration
For his part, MCA-L CEO Monie R. Captan said the United States of America acting through the Millennium Challenge Corporation and the Government of Liberia entered into a Millennium Challenge Compact to help facilitate poverty reduction through economic growth in Liberia.
The Compact seeks to address two binding constraints to economic growth currently existing in Liberia: lack of access to reliable and affordable electricity and inadequate road infrastructure, he asserted.
Mr. Captan, Liberia’s former Foreign Minister, said: “the validation of these regulations is a critical first step towards ensuring that regulatory functions underway.
It has been disclosed that various actors cutting across ministries, agencies and corporations/commission of government are collaborating on the regulatory and marketing tasks, under the auspices of the LERC.
The passage of the 2015 Electricity Law was contingent to the institutionalizing of the Millennium Challenge Compact and “remains the most important postwar structural reform of Liberia’s electricity sector”, Mr. Captan told participants at the validation workshop.
He alluded to some of the compact funding streams to cover the rehabilitation of the Mount Coffee Hydroelectric Plant, development of a nationwide road maintenance framework, training and capacity building at the Liberia Electricity Corporation and electricity sector reform including support for the LERC.
Pro-Poor Agenda Alignment
Also speaking at the opening session of the validation event Land Mines and Energy Minister Gesler E. Murray said LERC’s operations is aligned to President George Weah’s Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD).
Minister Murray said LERC is set up to act in the best interest of ordinary Liberians and private service providers in the energy sector.
“We as a nation cannot grow and develop without access to affordable power. And we all agree that the sector is beset with the issue of 50% commercial losses at the LEC…”
He argued that no business, let alone a country can run in that manner, noting that it is on the basis of these anomalies that the need to revise the law was justified with a view to checkmating predatory actions as perennial problem to contend with.
He expressed hope that the measures put in place will be a better position in the electricity sector of Liberia to contribute to growth maximization in bolstering the ailing economy.
The validation workshop was graced by Lofa County Senator George Tengbeh and Grand Bassa County District # 5 Rep. Vincent Willie chairpersons in the Houses of Senate and Reps Lands Mines, Energy and Natural Resources respectively, Stefania Marrone, Team Leader of Infrastructure Section at the European and various stakeholders in the electricity sector among others.
In separate remarks, Senator Tengbeh and Rep. Willie pledged the National Legislature support towards the achievement of the goals of the LERC.
Several presentations were made on the draft Electricity Licensing Regulations, Micro Utility Licensing Regulations, draft Electricity Licensing Handbook, Draft Administrative Procedures Regulations. All suggestions and inputs made will be incorporated into the new regulations, it was revealed.