Minister Wilmot Paye

To Ensure Coordination And Information Sharing, MME Launches Energy Sector Working Group

The Ministry of Mines and Energy has launched the Energy Sector Working Group (ESWG), aimed at ensuring coordination, information sharing, intended to make the energy sector more vibrant and efficient in service delivery. The establishment of the group was done through the Department of Energy at the Mines and Energy Ministry.

Speaking at the first acquaintance meeting of the Energy Sector Working Group Tuesday, April 23, 2024, at the Ministry of Mines and Energy central office in Monrovia, Minister Wilmot Paye described the establishment of the group as vital to bringing all energy stakeholders under one umbrella to figure out better strategies to address challenges facing the stability and availability of energy across the Country. The Mines and Energy Minister further said, the government of Liberia appreciates the support of foreign partners, but emphasized that there is a need for Liberia to own its energy sector through national budgetary support.

Minister Paye told the gathering, in order to effectuate national ownership of Liberia’s Energy Sector, he will make the matter mainstream during the upcoming cabinet retreat of President Joseph Nuyma Boakai, so that it becomes a cross-cutting concern to the cabinet. The Mines and Energy Minister then named the Rural Renewable Energy Agency (RREA), as the working group’s Co-Chair, while the Liberia Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC), heads the Secretariat. As sector lead, Mines and Energy Ministry heads the ESWG.

Making remarks at the acquaintance and establishment working session, the Chief Executive Officer of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC), Mr. Monie R. Captan, applauded the establishment efforts and said it provides opportunity for all hands to be on deck in finding the best ways possible, to fix the energy issues being experienced. Mr. Captan then divulged that the Ivory Coast which provides cross-border electricity to Liberia, has reduced its provision of power supply to Liberia from 15mw (Mega Watts), to 10mw (Mega Watts), causing serious instability. The LEC Boss told his colleagues during the interactive session that Ivory Coast took this decision because they are having some technical problems, they, too, are tackling.

In mitigating the frequent power outages being experienced by LEC customers, Mr. Captan said, the Corporation is constrained to burn 1,500 gallons of heavy fuel oil (HFO) per hour, amounting to 252,000 gallons weekly. He said, government is taking practical steps to keep electricity available until the rainy season pours more water into the Mount Coffee hydro power plant in White Plains to give the hydro its full capacity to serve the public’s electricity needs. The LEC CEO then assured that in order to make electricity available and sustainable, the government is exerting efforts to expand Mount Coffee hydro, build a new hydro power plant, and build a solar plant because according to him, renewable energy is the best solution to Liberia’s energy problems.

The inception gathering of the Energy Sector Working Group (ESWG), was attended by all actors in the Country’s energy sector, which include the Regulatory Commission (LERC), LEC, RREA, NOCAL, and the Petroleum Regulatory Authority (LPRA). Speaking on behalf of the LERC, its Chairman, Dr. Lawrence Sekajipo, called for greater collaboration amongst energy sector actors to change the situation positively. Like the LEC Boss suggested, recommendations went across the flow that there is a need to include the National Investment Commission (NIC) as a member of the Energy Sector Working Group (ESWG). This, the proponents said they deem necessary because the NIC plays a pivotal role in investors exploring the investment potentials of Liberia, with electricity being no exception.

Specific attention was drawn to the significance of forming the Energy Sector Working Group by the Deputy Minister for Energy, Charles Umehai, who commended the stakeholders for commitment and dedication they have demonstrated over the years to keep the energy sector recognizable. He entreated them to use this new coming-together of all, through the working group (ESWG), to be more contributive to achieve success in reforming the energy sector, which Deputy Minister Umehai confidently said is possible undoubtedly.

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