Thursday, 26 May 2011

Randall Street Blues!

"....the LEC is expensive, is apparently easy to steal, has poor customer service, and takes forever to get a connection. "

This morning, our poor new neighbours had their LEC cables stolen. We only found out about this skullduggery because our Janitor/Security, Mr. Joseph Dennis, had gone upstairs to check on the water levels in our water tank and saw that the wires had been cut. 

Our neighbours only got the LEC connection only about a week ago before these sadistic buggers stole the cable. Moreover, the landlord has just recently built a new perimeter wall at the back of the building and installed razor wire across it. We ourselves have installed free-hanging bulbs at the back of our apartment so the back yard is brightly lit at night! These petty thieves keep outwitting us! 




This brings back the nightmarish episode of December last year when our office/apartment's LEC cables were stolen about 3 times in one week! 

See here http://potatogreens.blogspot.com/2010/12/heist-4.html.

Since we applied our solution of burying the cables in a trench, the wires have not been stolen again. 

Overall, our experience with the LEC is mixed. On one hand, it is nice not to depend on generators as an electricity source. Generators are noisy, have to be constantly serviced and fuel is expensive. It is almost $ 5/gallon at the moment. Also, getting electricity through a public entity, gives one a sense of normalcy in a country coming out of a civil war. Lastly, we are usually on for most of the time and outages are getting less and less frequent. And how can I forget, the bill always comes on time, on the dot!

On the other hand, the LEC is expensive, is apparently easy to steal, has poor customer service, and takes forever to get a connection. 

Apparently - it is not so dangerous at all!
Ask us - the residents of Randall Street!

Our bill, for instance, has steadily increased from about $ 200/month to $ 600/month without any increase in consumption! All efforts to ask the LEC to investigate the issue have resulted in nothing and we are frustrated as ever. Apparently, many other consumers on Randall Street are complaining of the same thing. An LEC field technician suggested our meter was damaged and needed to be repaired. The meter went to the lab and re-installed. However, when the bill came at the end of the month, it was higher than even before, following the same devastating trend since December last year.  Also, apparently, we do not get 220 Volts but a few Volts less than that - at least that is what an air conditioner supplier told us when he tried to convince us his faulty AC was OK and our electricity supply was at fault. 

All in all, it is difficult to have complete and reliable information in a place like Liberia. Your guess is as good as mine regarding whether LEC tarriff's have indeed increased or not, whether or not we are getting 220 Volts or not and so on.

Public entities are struggling to re-establish themselves and provide service. They are trying to keep the public informed but need to do a better job. 

Meantime, let's hope the neighbours get their light restored before nightfall tonight! I've asked the landlord to deduct these expenses from their next rent but I doubt he will agree!

Just the other day I was cursing the landlord for a badly-leaking roof that covers the main courtyard of the building and promptly tripped and fell on my nose. 

Here are a few articles about the LEC: 

24 June 2010
"The Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) has disclosed that Liberia's electricity generation capacity will more than double within the next year from 10-megawatts to 23-megawatts" 


"Liberia has selected Canada's Manitoba Hydro International(MHI) Ltd. for a five-year management contract to help rebuild and improve electricity services in Monrovia and to connect at least 30,000 new customers in the city. "

You can visit the LEC website however only the History page has any information. 

2 comments:

  1. We realised after the fact that the outdoor unit for our AC was also stolen! Mr. Joseph Dennis failed to see this in the excitement of our neighbours' stolen cables.

    We clearly need to come up with more creative ways to protect our property. I wonder where I can find a three-headed dog?

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