Group Protests Against LEC Act…Wants Certain Provisions Quashed

A group of protestors yesterday stormed the Capitol Building protesting against the new 2015 Electricity Law which was passed recently by the Liberian Senate.

The new Electricity Law was passed recently under which an independent commission will be set up to formulate policy on how electricity will be distributed by various independent power supply companies in Liberia.

Under the new electricity law establishing the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission, LERC, Chapter 35 of the 1973 public law creating the Liberia Electricity Corporation was amended to enable the new regulatory agency to initially come under the supervision of the Lands, Mines and Energy Ministry, among other mandates.

But yesterday, a group of Liberians under the banner of the Coalition to Bring Plenty, Cheap, Reliable, and Stable Electricity to Liberia (BRESCELCO) staged a protest at the Capitol Building demanding that certain provisions of the New Electricity Law be amended.

The group in a communication to the House of Representatives demanded that that august body make some amendments to the bill passed last Thursday.

BRESCELCO specifically wants Section 3.2 which talks about the role of the department of energy be deleted in its entirety. According to BRESCELCO, the Regulatory Commission should not be under the control of a political appointee who serves at the will and pleasure of the President of Liberia and, as such, has no security of tenure of office. “This will lead to instability in the Commission,” the group said.

The group of citizens also wants chapter 4 which speaks of the procedures of the department of energy deleted in its entirety adding that this chapter flows from the deletion of Section 3.2 that procedures for a department of energy have no business in legislation about a regulatory commission over which it has no control.

BRESCELCO noted, “In its place should be substituted the provisions of Chapter 4 of the ‘Draft Act to Reform Liberia’s Electricity Sector’ submitted by it.”

BRESCELCO headed by former LPRC Managing Director, Harris Grieves said chapter 13.1 which is about the creation of Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission substitute the existing wording with certain amendments.

To avoid ethical lapses and to promote good governance in LERC, BRESCELCO said ethics and preferential treatment from the BRESCELCO draft bill should be inserted into Chapter 13 of this law among others.