Just before five this evening, Monday, a sudden fire outbreak at the Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) substation on Magazine Road that powers Belize City led to an outage that paralyzed the Old Capital for six hours, from 4:52 to 10:56 p.m.
The outage affected all of Belize City up to Mile 2 on both the Northern and Western Highways.
This evening after visiting the substation, Amandala obtained a statement from a representative of the recently nationalized power company, which attributed the fault at the substation to “equipment overheating,” which caused “further damage to other equipment” within the power station.
Prior to the restoration of power, the company said it was “evaluating the extent of the damage” and looking at “other alternate sources” to restore power to consumers after recognizing that repairing and replacing the damaged components “would take some time.” These alternate sources would include, but not be limited to, “mobile substations.”
The rest of the country was not affected, but Belize City effectively shut down after sundown, with only one gas station, Esso on Freetown Road, which we visited late this evening, still in operation, and most other places, without portable generators, were in the dark.
Water service was also out, we understand.
BEL announced restoration of services at 11:07 p.m., and replied at 11:28 p.m. to our query for additional information as to whether any one was injured in the fire, or whether the power the City is currently on is temporary or permanent, with the following:
“The transformer is back-up. Personnel you saw working were able to rectify the fault, so Belize City is receiving power from the Magazine Road Substation as per norm. We did not need to use alternate power sources. We are in no way reporting that anyone was harmed.”
An official press release on the unscheduled blackout will be issued tomorrow morning, Tuesday.