For many of us, access to reliable and affordable energy is a foundation to so much of our lives. Whether it be healthcare, industry or tourism, not having access to a reliable electric grid means there are greater challenges to surmount in creating thriving industries and improving quality of life for a community.
Located in Bong County, 80 miles inland of Liberia’s capital on the African West Coast, Totota is beyond the reach of the nascent Liberian national electric grid, which currently serves only about a quarter of the country’s population. Despite its role as a trading center for the region, most households in Totota would rely on dry cell batteries, lanterns and candles while a small number purchased electricity from individuals who own and operate small generators. In 2018, with the help of NRECA International, the community established the Totota Electric Cooperative (TEC). As of 2021, the members of the community now not only have access to a clean and reliable power grid, but also participate as member/owners of TEC, which recently became only the second legal power supplier in Liberia, after the government owned Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC).
NRECA International partnered with Ageto to provide the site-level controls and integration of this minigrid. With initial educational and monetary support from American electric co-ops who are members of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association (NRECA), TEC is now a self-sufficient cooperative which handles all electrical sales, operating costs and employs technicians, line-workers and managers within the community who report to a local board of directors.