By Bill W. Cooper
The Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC) has cautioned electricity companies operating in Liberia to comply with reporting obligations of their licenses as stipulated in the terms and conditions.
“Failure of licenses and permit holders to comply with the terms and conditions will lead to punitive actions as provided for in the 2015 Electricity Law of Liberia and the Electricity Licensing Regulations,” the Commission stressed.
The LERC was established as the independent electricity industry regulator under the 2015 Electricity Law of Liberia, and it prescribes the legal and regulatory framework for the sector.
It is tasked with the responsibility to oversee the transformation and development of the Electricity sector to attract investment, improve availability and adequacy as well as quicken the pace of access to electricity in the liberalized sector.
Part of the Commission’s responsibilities is to also oversee the transmission system operation function to ensure that the national electricity interconnected system is operated on an open access basis to permit unimpeded use by wholesale traders both public (LEC) and private (IPP’s) and their customers as well as issue licenses and permits to operators in the sector.
However, addressing a news conference on Friday at his LERC office in Congo Town, the Commission’s Chairperson, Lawrence D. Sekajipo intoned that all licenses, permits and authorizations are issued along with terms and conditions that must be strictly adhered to by operators within the country’s electricity sector.
According to him, over the past months, the Commission has been engaging self-suppliers operating at various thresholds, indicating that the purpose of such engagement is to create awareness and sensitize them about the work of the Commission.
The LERC chairperson further noted that the benefits of its regulation process will help facilitate safe, coordinated and accelerated development of the electricity sector and spur economic development in Liberia.
He added, “Against this backdrop, we encourage Electricity operators in the sector to compliance with the 2015 Electricity Law and Regulations because this will allow the Commission to populate the database of operators and facilitate the registration, licensing and permits process.”
Commenting on some of the gains made by the Commission, Mr. Sekajipo explained further that the Commission has approved and published the Electricity Licensing Regulations for Micro Utility Licensing Regulations, Electricity Licensing Handbook, Administration Procedure Regulations, Tariff Regulation and Multi Year Tariff and Methodology and customer service and quality of supply regulations to the public.
According to him, the draft distribution and grid codes have been developed and comments are being solicited from stakeholders, noting that in March of 2021, six licenses were issued to the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) though the Corporation has failed to comply with reporting obligations of its licenses.
He added, “In June of 2021, a small composite Micro Utility permit was also issued to Totota Electric Cooperative to operate a mini-grid in Totota, Bong County. And in August of 2021, a large Micro Utility Distribution License was also issued to Jungle Energy Power (JEP) for the Nimba distribution area.”
Meanwhile, the Commission through its Chairperson, Lawrence D. Sekajipo has also disclosed plans that in the coming months, the Commission will work with the National Legislature in terms of allocating a percentage of revenues (levy) collected within the sector to fund the Commission, as provided for by the law.
He said it is as a result of the 2015 ELL Sec. 13.4 (Funding and Budget) which provides that revenues to meet LERC’s budget shall be derived from levy or surcharge on the energy bills paid by energy suppliers and consumers.
LERC Warns Companies On
Electricity Licensing Regulations
By Bill W. Cooper