General — 26 September 2014 — by Adele Ramos
Nation plunged into darkness on Independence Eve

BELIZE CITY–Even as Belize was preparing to celebrate its national independence, the fact that the nation has yet to attain energy independence was underscored by a nationwide blackout which plunged the country into darkness for over an hour, because its primary supplier in Mexico experienced a “system trip.”

The Belize Electricity Limited (BEL), the country’s power distributor, has indicated that, “At 8:18 p.m., Belize’s power supply was interrupted when a system trip occurred on Mexico’s 230kV line, which provides power to Belize.”

The company said that through the use of local generation sources, it began restoring power supply to customers.

“Most areas in the Stann Creek and Toledo Districts were restored at 9:07 p.m. via Blair Athol Power Company Limited (BAPCOL),” said the company.

However, it was not until 9:38 p.m., that Mexico’s Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) reconnected with BEL, thereby restoring power to the Belize, Corozal and Orange Walk Districts.

Meanwhile, power supply was restored to the Cayo District between 9:40 p.m. and 10:13 p.m., the company said.

“CFE has since reported to BEL that the fault on their system was caused by a malfunctioning reactor,” BEL said.

Belize’s energy demand is growing, and bids from 22 companies proposing to supply power, including renewable energy options, are being reviewed.

According to CEO in the Ministry of Energy, Dr. Colin Young, while they are looking for a total of 75 MW, preferably of biomass or renewable energy, the plan is to designate 15 MW to wind and/or solar power.

Derek Davis, the PUC’s Director of Electricity, has told Amandala that Belize uses up to 84 megawatts of power, and only 55% of that is generated in-country.

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