LEC Recharge Customers “Catching Hard Time”
Customers of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) of late have had to endure hours of standing in a long queue under the hot sun to recharge their cards at the only sub office in the Paynesville area.
On December 15, 2016, the management of the LEC commissioned one of its turbines at the hydro plant at White Plains, outside Monrovia.
Since that commissioning ceremony, there has been a sharp increase in the demand for recharge cards at the various sub offices of the LEC in Monrovia and other commercial districts.
Considering the population density of Paynesville, the one sub office in Joe Bar has been overwhelmed by customers demanding for recharge cards.
Such a huge demand and LEC’s inadequate customer service has left many customers angry, frustrated and indignant.
Several of these customers told the Daily Observer Tuesday that the arrival of Big Light is becoming an illusion owing to the snail pace of obtaining a recharge card.
On top of their vexation over how long it takes for them to get served, customers queuing at the Joe Bar sub office complain that the facility acquired by the LEC to transact business is substandard.
For example, there is no shelter provided for customers waiting in the blazing sun on the long line that leads to the entrance of the makeshift booth where LEC cashiers are assigned.
“For heaven’s sake, obtaining a recharge card from this LEC sub office is like processing a passport from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or doing banking services at some of the banks in Monrovia,” customer Joe B. Roberts exclaimed.
This is not how we should be treated as taxpayers and genuine customers of the LEC in Paynesville City, Mr. Roberts added.
Some of the customers also expressed disgust about the offensive odour coming from the garbage dumpsite at the back of the makeshift sub office.
A brief tour of the surroundings of the sub office by our reporter yesterday revealed two garbage piles occasionally burned by residents that reside at the back of the LEC recharge facility at Joe Bar.
The customers sounded an urgent appeal to the LEC management for the opening of several other sub offices in the Paynesville commercial district.
Such a practical move on the part of the LEC management would enhance the delivery of services, ensure efficiency and add to the system many electricity customers, they argued.
When contacted on Tuesday for reaction to the customers’ complaints, an official of LEC declined to give any details but hinted to this newspaper that there are plans underway to open additional customer service sub offices in Paynesville soon.
Meanwhile residents of Gbengbar Town on the Robertsfield Highway, Nagbe Town, Voker Mission Community and other parts of Paynesville have called on the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) to allow businesses in their communities to provide recharge services to meet their electricity needs.
Several residents of those communities, who converge at the Paynesville Joe Bar’s Monica Business Center daily to recharge their cards, demanded that the LEC should respond urgently to their request because they spend too much time to purchase recharging chips.
Ms. Sarah Kollie, a resident of Nagbe Town said she spends sometimes up to four hours at the Monica Business Center just to buy US$10 worth of current.
“I come here to buy a recharge every two days because I sell cold water and drinks and I think I should not be wasting so much time to do that,” Ms. Kollie complained.
She said the chip system is not bad, but one service center should not serve two to four communities as is the case in her area.
“The time we spend here each day is too much. The center also provides mobile money services that we are told is down most of the time and we cannot be served. Therefore since there are no additional service centers we are left with one option which is to wait,” she said.
Ms. Juluflay D. Hinneh of Gbengbar Town and Paul Gonlepa of Voker Mission Community were among several others who spoke to the Daily Observer. They appealed to the LEC to own their service centers in order to provide relief to their numerous customers now that ‘Big Light’ is here.
Daniel S. Morris, one of the monitors for the LEC current, said the owner of the business center, identified only as Johnson, provides services to the community.
“This is the only service center right now in Paynesville, but Mr. Johnson has promised to open another one around Bob Taylor Junction and look for more trusted agents to sell current to customers in other communities,” Mr. Morris disclosed.
He said more than 200 customers are served at the center with a minimum purchase of US$10 from Monday to Saturday (9a.m.-5:30 p.m.).