capacity deficiency in most instances."
The release further explained that T&D faults were
exacerbated by the intense dry season that produced very dusty conditions
and fires countrywide. As a result, dust and soot accumulated on the
transmission and distribution infrastructure (insulators, transformers,
cables, etc.). When the evening dew mixed with these elements, the result
was electrical shorts or "flashovers" which cause sudden "faults" or
The PUC requested that BEL "increase their vigilance
and manpower in these sensitive areas to more effectively respond to the
outages." Considering that these outages may cause damage to consumer
equipment, the PUC established a procedure with BEL for addressing any
compensation claims from affected customers. It reads as follows:
"Consumers must first take their claim to BEL. If BEL determines that the
claim is authentic, then BEL will either pay (1) for the repair of the
damaged equipment or (2) the replacement value (the condition immediately
prior to the time of the damage). If BEL does not accept that the claim
is authentic, the customer can then take the claim to the PUC. The PUC
will establish a team to investigate the claim and determine its
validity. If the PUC determines that the claim is authentic, then BEL
will compensate the consumer as set out above and also pay the cost of
the investigation. If the claim is not valid, the claimant will be
requested to pay the cost of the investigation."
The PUC is presently holding discussions
with the Association of Professional Engineers of Belize (APEB) for
assistance in the independent investigation of consumer claims.
On Thursday, May
22nd, BEL held a news
conference. BEL Vice President for Business Development Michael Polonio
announced that BEL had received good results from hosing down utility
poles with water. Polonio stated that until the much-needed rains come,
pressure washers would be used to wash insulators. This new equipment can
be operated without shutting off the electrical current, eliminating the
need for additional power outages.