The Plenary of the Liberian Senate has unanimously voted to pass the Electricity Law of 2015, which calls for the privatization of the energy sector of Liberia. Plenary is the highest decision making body of the Senate.
Heritage Liberia reports that the lawmakers took the decision last Thursday following the submission of a report from its Committee on Lands, Mines, Energy and Natural Resources headed by Grand Kru County Senator Albert Chie.
In the report, the committee noted that the bill seeks to loosen the restrictions in the electricity sector so as to encourage competition. This is expected to consequently improve access, quality and lower costs. It points out that the proposed act also seeks to establish the legal and regulatory framework for the generation, transmission, distribution and retail sale of electricity and for import and export.
Institutional arrangements will consist of the Ministry of Lands, Mines and Energy playing a policy oversight role, an independent regulatory commission or authority to be established, and the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) serving as a national grid company and the transmission system operator.
The proposed law also touches on electricity regulation consisting of areas such as licensing and registration, self-supply by large consumers, micro-utilities, theft of electricity, tariff setting as well as dispute resolution, power purchase agreements, and international transactions.
“From the effective date of the proposed law, LEC should be considered automatically licensed provisionally to engage in power generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity,” the committee stated.
Sen. Chie stated that the act seeks to “unbundle” some of the responsibilities of the LEC. He stressed that LEC does not currently have the needed capacity to carry out three primary components including distribution, generation and supply of electricity. Therefore, according to him, the 2015 Electricity Law creates an enabling and open environment for all components of electricity, and as such, would be investors could begin considering which components to invest into when the act is passed into law.
A motion for the endorsement of the committee’s report was made by Gbarpolu County Senator Daniel Naatehn.
The bill is expected to be sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
This article first appeared HERE