PM Briceno Heads to Mexico to Meet CFE Representatives

PM Briceno Heads to Mexico to Meet CFE Representatives

Prime Minister John Briceno is preparing to return to Mexico this weekend to meet with representatives from the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE), Mexico’s main power provider. The meeting comes on the heels of Belize’s energy woes and seeks to discuss avenues and possibilities of bolstering the country’s power supply. CFE is the entity that Belize Electricity Limited buys most of its power from, but, of recent Mexico has been having a shortage of power as well.  PM Briceno says that while Mexico is currently facing its own energy crisis, he believes they may be able to come to a compromise to benefit Belizean consumers. 

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “I’m very optimistic and excited about what can be accomplished. I think the most important thing is that I believe at this point I spoke with CEO Mencias yesterday we managed to get the mile 8 on the western highway generator going. Once that is working well we’ll be able to barely hold on but we’ll be able to be well with our energy needs, we will be able to meet them and when we get the San Pedro 21 megawatt generator going that then will also ensure that we can be self sufficient but let us not forget that when we connect to CFE there are certain hours of the day especially like two or three o’clock in the morning we can get energy at two cents and three cents per kilowatt. So the plan is we are going to ask CFE if they could increase the maximum that they can sell Belize. Presently it’s at 55 megawatts and we’e hoping that we get to at least 60 because when they can give us the 60 because it’s cheaper we buy from them and then when it’s more expensive then we could switch over so it’s a matter of doing that balancing act to ensure that we could get the best possible rates for our consumers.”

Briceno added that the country’s main goal is to create self-sufficient energy sources that will reduce the need for energy from external sources. He says that the government continues to work toward the construction of a solar plant through funding approved by the Saudi Arabian Government. 

Hon. John Briceño, Prime Minister of Belize: “I think this is the first time it’s been happening on a regular basis. Again what has happened to both the Yucatan Peninsula and to Belize that for instance we are victims of our success. Our economy has been growing so fast that it has been difficult for BEL to be able to keep up with the energy use of the country. We are presently using the projections of 2028 that is where BEL expected it was going to be here we are in 2024. Our government from the day we got in we started looking – we knew this was coming, we did not expect it was going to happen in 2024 and so we’ve been working on other projects, solar in particular and a battery I think it’s about 45 megawatt battery storage with the World Bank. With the Saudis when we spoke to them and they immediately said yes we’re prepared to lend you I think it’s $77 million I think US dollars. Once they approve that they won’t right you a cheque, then we have to come up with the actual designs and the place we’re going to put it, meeting with BEL, BEL pointed to us that the transmission line cannot hold 60 megawatts at a time we have to break it up in 20 megawatts. So the first one looking at the plans BEL was already working with cooperating with our government now we’re fast tracking. Now we’re at the point where the designs have been accepted and we’ve presented it to the Saudis, to the bank that is going to lend us the money and now we are in the process of getting a group I think it has to be with a Saudi group together that we will be able to build the solar plant. The area has been identified it’s going to be in Bomba by the Maskall area and we expect that by July/August of next year the first 20 megawatts is going to be online. Now BEL’s challenge is to ensure that they continue to work on improving their transmission lines because again of the amount of use and the excessive heat it creates breaks from time to time in their lines and so now we need to build a second line to connect to the grid from Mexico onto the middle of this country.”

Briceno notes that he shares the sentiments of the business community and is working to find a solution to the recent blackouts.

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