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Liberia's Capital to Receive Electricity After 14 Years of Civil War


If all continues as planned, residents in two parts of Monrovia, Liberia, will have public electricity by July 26th, Liberia’s 159th independence anniversary. It will be the first time since the beginning of Liberia’s 14-year civil war that people will have access to power. President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf promised electricity in her first 150 days action plan. Harry Yuan is director of the Liberia Electricity Corporation and told Voice of America English to Africa reporter James Butty the project is on track.

“I am positive now than ever before that we will give some parts of Monrovia electricity comes July 26th, because yesterday the generators, at least two of them arrived.”

Yuan says the generators were supplied by Britain, while the electric poles were supplied by the Volta River Authority of Ghana. He says two sections of the capital, Monrovia, will be the first to be electrified.

“The area around the Spriggs Payne Airport, we will be putting one of the two units that arrived today, and we will run lines from there. One will go toward Paynesville, or Congo Town, and will take in the Catholic Hospital and the Medical School, and the other line will take in JFK (John F. Kennedy Hospital) and the areas in between those two.”

In the past, Liberia’s electricity was compatible with the US system. But Yuan says the new electric system is compatible with the European system, with 220 minimal voltage.

“That is the system that the entire [African] continent uses. We were the only ones using the American system.”

In the past, power theft had deprived the government of needed revenue. Yuan says his corporation will combat power theft by initiating a prepaid system, the same method used by Liberian cell phone companies.

He says the United States government, through the US Agency for International Development, is helping to make the Monrovia re-electrification possible.

“They are specifically to help us with the metering, the monitoring, the payment for bills and the management of that. They are to provide fuel for start up for the first two months….”

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