Increasing Access to Electricity in Liberia

Increasing Access to Electricity in Liberia

Hydropower Supply Increased but Utility Company Struggles to Deliver Power
Published: Mar 01, 2020
Publisher: Mathematica
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Associated Project

Independent Evaluation of the Liberia Energy Project

Time frame: 2017-2025

Prepared for:

Millennium Challenge Corporation

Authors

Various Authors

Key Findings

Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant Rehabilitation

  • MCC, along with other donors, increased production from 0 to 88 megawatts for Liberia’s largest electricity asset. While MCHPP was successfully rehabilitated, ongoing operations and maintenance is underfunded, increasing the risk of turbine or plant failure, additional rehabilitation costs, and potential emergency situations.

Utility, Regulatory, and Grid-Level Outcomes

  • The Liberia Electricity Company (LEC) has been in a grave financial situation for the last decade. The MCC-funded management services contract (MSC) assumed responsibility in 2018. While the MSC has made some progress, LEC requires funding for operations and capital expenses, and a systematic response to theft and corruption to ensure functionality and sustainability currently and post-Compact in 2021.
  • The Liberian Electricity Regulatory Commission (LERC) was established as part of the project, but commissioners believe that donor financing is essential beyond 2021 for the commission to be an independent, transparent, accountable, and sustainable agency.

Electricity Access

  • Energy provided by the Liberia Electricity Company is cheaper than other sources. However, new connections have lagged well below targets, leading to illegal connections and increased commercial losses.

Millennium Challenge Corporation’s $257 million Liberia Compact (2016–2021) aims to encourage economic growth and reduce poverty by improving access to reliable and affordable electricity. The Compact funded the $202 million Energy Project to generate low-cost power by rehabilitating the Mount Coffee Hydropower Plant (MCHPP), to build capacity in the utility company, and to establish an independent regulator. The project aims to increase production and distribution of lower cost, quality electricity, reduce tariffs and user costs, and connect Liberians to affordable electric power.

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