Mexico to cut of BEL’s power supply for 4 months

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 19, No. 18            May 7, 2009

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Central Station in Campeche, Comision Federal de Electricidad.

As of tomorrow May 8th, Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) in Mexico will cut Belize’s supply of electricity for the next four months. In an unexpected press release issued on Thursday, April 30th, following a major power outage the day before, Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) stated that CFE experienced substantial damages to their main generating equipment in the central state of Campeche. The damage occurred last week Wednesday and caused a major outage in all southern states of Mexico and in Belize. 

        The Campeche station supplies the southern states of Mexico on their National Grid and Belize is a part of that grid. CFE says that the damages severely limits their capability to provide firm energy to the Yucatan Peninsula. This has forced CFE to suspend the firm energy supplied to BEL. Belize’s peak demand of electricity averages 74 megawatts (MW) and more than half, 43 MW comes from CFE during the dry season.

        In speaking with The San Pedro Sun, BEL Public Relations Officer Vonetta Burrell stated that Belizeans can expect the typical operation of the company to continue. So can major power outages be expected? Burrell stated that, “BEL will do their best to utilize its available power sources and will try to maintain the reliability of electricity to the company.”

        According to BEL, their current sources of power are from hydroelectricity, the West Lake Generating Facility, diesel generating plants in Belmopan and Caye Caulker and from mobile units across the country. Since hydroelectricity production is less during the dry season, BEL says that they will continue to use local generation sources efficiently to minimize possible power outages. Just this month, on April 6th BEL connected to Belize Aquaculture Limited (BAL) for the provision of 15 MW of firm power supply to meet the system demand and to maintain system reliability. Hence, BEL is encouraging all customers to continue practicing energy conservation.

        This is the first time in BEL’s history that they will be cut off from CFE for such a length of time.
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