LWSC Wants to Increase Water Tariffs

LOUISIANA, Montserrado – Duannah Kamara, the managing director of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, says the utility company is considering revisiting the current tariffs on water.

Kamara made the disclosure on Tuesday, March 26 to The Bush Chicken in an exclusive interview during a tour of LWSC’s facilities in White Plains.

LWSC currently charges US$0.005 per gallon for residential homes and US$0.015 for businesses.

The announcement comes as the company has been rationing water it supplies to the capital city. Customers along the 16-inch transmission pipe that runs from White Plains through the township of Louisiana and supplies Caldwell, Duala, New Kru Town, Clara Town, and Vai Town have been receiving low pressure of water during the morning hours while those along the 36-inch pipe that runs through Paynesville, Congo Town, Old Road, Lakpazee, and Sinkor have been receiving high pressure in the morning.

Kamara explained that LWSC has established a schedule on how it would pump water. He noted that the utility company “is no longer pumping water 24 hours because of electricity issue at its White Plains facilities.”

Although LWSC receives electricity from the Liberia Electricity Corporation grid, Kamara said it still has to operate a 17,000 KVA generator that consumes 65 to 70 gallons of fuel an hour because LEC is too expensive. He noted that LWSC’s generator consumes “550 gallons of fuel every 10 hours to pump water.”

Kamara said LWSC was spending US$2,000 each day to pump water to its customers. He put the monthly cost at US$60,000.

“It is cost-intensive operating the LWSC generator,” he emphasized.

A scene of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation Water Treatment Plant facility at White Plains. Photo: Zeze Ballah

Though the LWSC managing director said it is cost intensive to get electricity supply from the LEC, he said: “with the involvement of Samuel Tweah, the finance minister, LEC has dropped its rate to 22 cents per kilowatt for LWSC.”

Even this lowered rate is still more costly than running LWSC’s generator, Kamara said.

“The high electricity rate is now giving LWSC reason to revisit the tariffs on water and to see how such can be adjusted in the future,” Kamara added.

(L-R) Duannah Kamara, Liberia’s Water and Sewer Corporation’s Managing Director, J. Korfeh Thomas, LWSC’s Plant Manager along with members of the entity the technical team Photo Zeze Ballah

Kamara maintained that the LWSC cannot operate its facilities at White Plains without funds, fuel, and electricity adding “modalities are being worked out with the LWSC board for some adjustment on the tariffs”.

Even as Kamara says LWSC needs to raise tariffs to accommodate for the high cost of power, in July 2018, he announced that the utility company was losing 78 percent of processed water to leakages and illegal connection. The company also does a poor job collecting payment from its legal customers. There is no evidence that the company has gotten those issues under control yet.

Featured photo by Zeze Ballah

Zeze Ballah

Zeze made his journalism debut as a high school reporter at the LAMCO Area School System. In 2016 and 2017, the Press Union of Liberia awarded Zeze with the Photojournalist of the Year award. Zeze was also the union's 2017 Health Reporter of the Year. He is a Health Journalism Fellow with Internews.

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