A sophisticated network of electricity theft was Thursday dismantled when crews of the Energy Monitoring Section of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) and the Liberia National Police (LNP) raided the Township of West Point. Over 250 homes were disconnected and huge bundles of illegal wires confiscated.
The criminals, who fled the scene before the arrival of the team, had hooked their cables to a high voltage line supplying the Township before distributing the illegal power to several homes. Crews disconnected the illegal cable from a light pole, which was the main source, before moving from house to house to unstring a tangled mess of wires used for the theft. Residents disconnected said they had paid US$40.00 monthly per household for the illegal connections in addition to purchasing wires. Owen Richards, Head of the Energy Monitoring Section said the Township was one of the hotspots of electricity theft in Liberia. “We have raided this Township several times before. This is in continuation of our regular monitoring exercise in West Point. West Point is one of the hotbeds of power theft, so we have made it our duty to regularly move into the community to inspect our lines to ensure that they are not been tempered with.” Richards said Thursday raid yielded tremendous success, saying that due to the frequency of previous operations, the crew was astonished to discover that the criminal network has become more complex, sophisticated and larger in scope. “They are now running their lines in the community conspicuously. These criminals are demonstrating total disregard for the rule of law. We will onwards increase our monitoring operations in West Point,” he said. He vowed that the operation in the Township will continue until electricity theft becomes unprofitable for the suppliers and the end users. Electricity theft is widespread throughout the network areas of the Liberia Electricity Corporation. The phenomenon, which is causing huge revenue losses for the LEC is an ongoing challenge and has taken many forms. Not only are there many incidences of residents in the network area stealing electricity through illegal connections, but a significant number of subscribers are by passing meters and using the utility without paying bills.