VIRGINIA, Montserrado –The Liberia Electricity Corporation has broken grounds for the construction of a US$9.5 million substation in Virginia, a suburb outside Monrovia.
The project is a part of the Liberia Accelerated Electricity Expansion Project and was funded by a World Bank loan. The event took place on July 25 and is part of the government’s plan to construct four substations in Virginia, Gardnesville, Stockton Creek, and Kle in Bomi.
The project is expected to be completed in 18 months and will allow about 33,000 people in 37 communities to be connected to the electricity grid. Communities as widespread as Chicken Soup Factory, New Georgia, Tubmanburg, and Bo Waterside are expected to benefit.
John Ashley, Liberia’s Electricity Corporation chief executive officer, said building networks and substations take time and “a lot of work has to be done.”
“It’s a long process, and the corporation is asking residents to be patient,” he said.
Ashley explained that over the next three years, the donor-funded projects in the country would see 140,000 new customers connected to the power grid.
According to Ashley, LEC currently has 53,000 customers and the additional “140,000 new customers expected to be connected over the next three years is going to have a huge impact on the corporation and the lives of many Liberian citizens.”
“In addition to the donor-funded programs, LEC will be hoping to do 30,000 connections with its own funds,” he said.
Upon completion of the project, Ashley said school children would be able to study their lessons, charge phones, and store foods in refrigerators.
“It’s a major change in the way people will live their lives in a small community,” he said.
Ashley cautioned the residents to connect legally and report illegal connections to LEC, as they overload the network and damage transformers.
Henry Kimber, a project coordinator at LEC, noted that “the Mount Coffee Hydro Plant is producing a lot of power” and that the next frontier in ensuring that more Liberians can enjoy access to electricity is to resolve issues of transmission and distribution.
For this to happen, Kimber said substations need to be built, transmission lines need to be run, and home need to be wired to connect to the grid.
“Without a substation situated in Virginia, residents will not be able to receive electricity,” he said.
He called on community residents to work with LEC to ensure that the project is completed.
The substation will be constructed by MBH Power Limited, an Indian firm.
Featured photo by Zeze Ballah