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Time is running out for Belize Electricity Limited as its arrangement with the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (C.F.E.) of Mexico, which supplies about 70% of the country with power, is maxed out.  Massive and rolling blackouts can arise if B.E.L. is unable to make regular payments to keep its $8Million debt to CFE below the credit limit and Prime Minister Dean Barrow says that B.E.L. will have to handle its own affairs.

Belize Electricity Limited is in grave financial trouble and owes millions to creditors and its primary supplier of power, Comision Federal de Electricidad (CFE) of Mexico, who may cut power to Belize in ten days or less. According to Lynn Young, CEO of B.E.L., they have to be making payments on a daily basis to keep below the credit limit and the last payment made only gave them 10 to 12 days of credit.

“I don’t think the government will allow that to happen, but at the end of the day, we all have to be responsible about the electrical supply to the country,” commented Lynn Young to News 5, Belize City. “I can’t imagine rolling blackouts with crime situation as it is in Belize City, not to mention the effect on the economy - we just can’t have that. So quite frankly, if we don’t pay CFE they will cut us off. If they cut us off, we don’t have enough water to carry the country for more than five or six days. So there will be rolling blackouts.”

B.E.L. was previously getting 33% of its power supply from Mexico and the bulk of power from at least four other suppliers including Belize Electric Company Limited (BECOL), Belize Cogeneration Energy Limited (BELCOGEN) Hydro Maya, Belize Aquaculture Limited and a small portion from B.E.L.’s diesel generators. The construction of BECOL’s VACA and Chalillo Dams and the sugar industry’s BELCOGEN were once seen as the only way to wean the country off Mexico’s power grid.  So what happened to make the country dependent once more on Mexico?

According to Lynn Young in an interview with News 5 in 2010 they got about 35% of electricity from CFE Mexico with the addition of the Vaca Hydro Plant BAL and BELCOGEN. Young stated that BAL hasn’t been able to produce because they couldn’t get good fuel since their supplier went out of business and had issues getting affordable fuel.

He continued by stating that even if BAL commenced operating again their price would be even higher that CFE because they would be using pure fuel and wouldn’t help BEL as far as the financial part goes. And so the issues with its other suppliers have been running on a streak of bad luck and BEL has been about 70% of its power from Mexico in the first part of this year.

Now would be the time to prepare with flash lights, lanterns and generators as we could be facing rolling blackouts in days to come. We hope that BEL can find a solution to this major problem.

Sofia's picture

Sofia

5 Comments

  1. avatar

    What i fail to understand is that they do not have money to pay something so critical but at the end of the year they will register profits in the millions similar to BTL.  What I do know is that BEL has a mandate to provide us with 24hour electricity.  I will give them a break if there is a natural disaster like a hurricane, flood or fire that may damage the system but if it is because they cannot get thier accounting together then they should buy power even if they loose money.  So many business here in Belize operate at a loss but still give the service example hotels, restaurants, the airlines just to name a few.  Some days you win and some days you loose...but BEL and BTL love to win...and have profit every single year....I want my electricty 24/7 even if it means that they will loose some of thier profits at the end of the year... Get your act together BEL......

  2. avatar

    When my bill is due there is no mercy from BEL my light gets cut off and on top of that I have pay a fee that during these times of crises is a lot of money.  How comes they are not paying their bills?  This sucks they better get their act together and not just wait to see what will happen. MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN BEL AND MAKE NOW!!!!!

  3. avatar

    It is not logical for BEL to say thay are broke when in past years they used to report 30 millions profit a year.  Only this year they reported 10 millions, which is still a big profit.  Nobody in the world believes them.  This is only a trick to try to get government to approve their increased rates.  We hope the gov. is not as greedy as them..

  4. avatar

    fortis....a  tiefing  co.

  5. avatar

    It is time to be thinking about alternate power sources which in our case there is plenty especially on the island.(hydroelectric power, aeroelectric power, solar energy) It is very usefull and it benifitss us in the longer run the only problem is BEL allowing such thing.

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