Power Outages Spark Discontent Across Belize; BEL Responds

Power Outages Spark Discontent Across Belize; BEL Responds

Many Belizeans across the country were upset yesterday after a series of power outages occurred in short succession. In response, the Belize Electricity Limited says it immediately deployed teams to all the affected areas and learned that the issue stemmed from a bushfire in the Maskal area in the Belize District. Later that day, the company would have to cut power to several villages in southern Belize, due to another fire-related issue.  Emmanuel Pech, Senior Corporate Communications Officer for BEL explained how the situation unfolded.

Emmanuel Pech, Senior Corporate Communications Officer, BEL: “The fire had damaged the pole field of the infrastructure which eventually caused it to collapse which resulted in the power interruption. Our teams were immediately mobilized to repair the damages and power was successfully restored at approximately 10:45 am to all areas in the country. Now the situation on the same day at around 7:50pm our teams had to conduct an emergency power outage that affected customers in communities in the Toledo District mainly Bella Vista, Trio Village, sections of San Isidro and Bladen Village. Now this emergency power interruption had to be done in order to replace a burnt pole that was discovered in the Bella Vista area. Power was then restored by our teams at approximately 11pm. So this power interruption lasted for approximately two hours and fifty minutes.”

Pech stressed that a power interruption due to fire is a rare occurrence for BEL due to the systems the company has in place; however, it is difficult to determine what went wrong this time.

Emmanuel Pech, Senior Corporate Communications Officer, BEL: “One of the things we have to remind our customers and the general public is that indeed we are currently in the dry season which means that fires tend to spread a lot more quickly and a lot more easily which ends up causing these types of situations. I will tell you though that the situation that we faced on Sunday was a rare occurrence for us. It is not often that a transmission line is impacted by fire nad it is not often that our distribution lines are impacted by fire and why is that ? The primary reason for that is that BEL has vigorous systems in place to manage these instances and prevent these instances from ever happening and part of that is our rigorous vegetation management program which extends all year round. And what our teams try to do is to prevent these issues from happening by managing the vegetation, managing the foliage around these infrastructures to essentially create a barrier for not only fire from spreading to our power line infrastructure but also wildlife from extending and traversing our power line infrastructure and causing interruptions. It’s very difficult to identify and pin point exactly where the fire started. There are many variables at play here and it’ll be a tiring task to even determine that. I will tell you that sometimes even human interaction comes at play here which is why we want to remind the public in general to be cautious about using fire during the dry season whether ir be for agriculture, whether it be for whatever reason to be more conscious especially during this time that fire can easily spread.”

Pech also commended the BEL crews who deployed on a Sunday to ensure that the issue was resolved for the benefit of Belizeans countrywide.

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