Press Release – BEL Continues to Manage the Effects of Environmental Conditions on Power System – Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) teams continue to manage the effects of extended drought and seasonal dry weather conditions on our electric infrastructure, which have resulted in an increase of dust, smoke and soot contamination on power line equipment. Over the past few days, there has been an increase in pole fires due to excessive contaminants on insulators that cause them to fail, and bush fires that damage poles.
One such failure occurred early on April 23, on the 115kV transmission line that connects the national grid to the Mexican grid. At the time, the Mexican grid was supplying most of the energy being used in Belize, which resulted in a temporary system collapse. At 1:26 a.m. most of the country experienced a power outage due to a burnt crossarm on a transmission structure in the Orange Walk District. This was the result of excessive dust build-up on power line equipment, which caused an electrical fault on the structure.
BEL teams responded immediately to isolate the system and commence repairs, then began sequenced restoration of power to most areas between 2:15 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. Power supply was restored to remaining areas of the Belize and Corozal Districts between 4:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.
“The ongoing weather conditions will continue to present challenges, and may potentially cause more outages. However, BEL assures customers that we continue to implement our intensified countrywide system maintenance program to mitigate these challenges. Our line teams are also working diligently in these challenging weather conditions while maintaining social distancing and using additional personal protective equipment in adherence to COVID-19 preventative measures. We thank customers for their patience during this morning’s outage and our dedicated staff who remain committed to delivering safe and reliable power to our customers across Belize.”