ESB International set about increasing the level of effort and the mix of resources to meet the challenge. From the outset, the team focused beyond being more than just a third-party organisation delivering technology and knowledge transfer but by making real efforts to work with and for the community. With this approach by year three of the contract, ESB International has made substantial progress despite the challenges. Some notable achievements included a 14% reduction in operating costs, implementation of an Integrated Management System and a 50% reduction in blackouts.
ESB International: Utilising our utility management experience to bring light and power to communities in Liberia.
Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) was established in 1973 under a Government of Liberia (GoL) legislative act that mandated LEC to oversee the country’s generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity supply. In 2017, as part of the Liberian Energy Sector Reform Project, a Management Service Contract (MSC) was tendered to international parties, with ESB International assuming management control of LEC in January 2018. Funding for the first three years was via the Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact (MCCC).
The award of the MSC was based on incontrovertible requirements for improvements within LEC in several key areas; these included the reduction in commercial losses and the need for training and development of local staff. However, ESB International soon realised that LEC required significantly more support and a different approach to turn it around to deliver the improvements.
The final two remaining years of the five-year MSC were originally intended to move into an advisory role for the incoming management team that had been put in place. With the MCCC funding closing at the end of year three, there was a shared understanding amongst the donor community that substantial work remained to achieve critical targets within LEC. For the remaining two years, the World Bank has committed to providing the necessary funds for the MSC, and a contract for continuation has been put in place between ESB International and the World Bank through to January 2023.