Shocking Electrical Conditions in San Pedro

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 17, No. 12            March 22, 2007

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Some areas of San Pedro are “frightening” when it comes to electrical wiring, the Belize Public Utilities Commission (PUC) told a group of interested citizens, mostly electricians, who attended a public meeting Wednesday night in the Lion’s Den. Areas of greatest concern exist along the shoreline where water requires extra precautions for electricity.

    Victor Lewis, the PUC Electrical Director, and his colleagues, Ann Wade, PUC Communications Manager and Elihue Banner, PUC Sector Specialist, toured San Pedro Wednesday on the lookout for electrical wiring problems. Lewis said that while some areas inland were of concern, “some of the work we saw on the waterside was frightening.” When asked to elaborate, he noted some areas have improper conduit and exposed wiring. According to Sector Specialist Banner, even the new Boca Del Rio Bridge has some improper conduit and exposed wires that feed the lights.

    The goal of the meeting was to encourage electricians to meet the highest possible standards when doing electrical work. Lewis spent the evening describing various electrical scenarios and emphasizing “don’t cheap out,” with electricity. Simple examples include using Ground Fault Circuit Interrupt (GFCI) outlets around water such as in kitchens, bathrooms and outdoors outlets. These outlets are extra sensitive to prevent electrical shock.

    Lewis said that the PUC is advocating the Government of Belize adopt the National Electrical Code (NEC), which are based on international electrical codes and standards that is used in most states in the United States and other developed countries. Unfortunately, one copy of the NEC book costs $300BZ.

    Specific articles in the code that the PUC would like to see adopted are:

Article 682: Natural and artificial Bodies of Water
Article 555: Marinas and Boat Yards
The PUC Electrical Division will be visiting San Pedro two days a week, seven times a year. If they see an infraction of code, or unsafe electrical situations, they can contact Belize Electricity Limited to terminate service until the situation is repaired.

    For additional information visit the PUC website at: www.puc.bz Information about the National Electric Code can be found at: www.necdigest.org.



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