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Oct 19, 2015

B.E.L. Removes All Illegal Connections In Antelope Street Extension

On Sunday, there was no supply of electricity in certain areas of the Southside for most of the day. That’s because Belize Electricity Limited was forced to cut power after illegal connections threatened mass casualties by electrocution. It’s nothing new – hundreds of residents in communities like Antelope Street Extension and Gungulung access electricity through wires which stretch sometimes for many hundreds of feet before reaching an outlet far away. Electricity and water don’t mix, and on Sunday there was very real danger to residents and emergency workers, which resulted in B.E.L. pulling the plug.

 

Vonetta Burrell

Vonetta Burrell, Public Relations Manager, B.E.L.

“The hazards were highlighted with the flooding that happened over the weekend. There are several improper and illegal connections which have caused live electrical connections to be exposed in water, threatening the lives of people who live in various communities as well as it threatened the lives of emergency workers who were assisting with evacuation efforts over the weekend, not to mention the personnel from B.E.L. who attempted to restore power which we had to cut in order to be able to go into the area to allow the NEMO emergency workers to evacuate the persons in the community.”

 

Sean Fuller

Sean Fuller, Senior Manager, Customer Care, B.E.L.

“We’re trying to go into all these areas to normalize the service that we provide to customers. One of the basic items that we look at is to ensure that there is proper infrastructure in place…that there is roadway infrastructure so that we can install our lines. And then thereafter B.E.L. has two programs that can assist the poor in getting electricity. We have the Connecting Homes Improving Lives Program which provides a free service entrance to anyone that qualifies, and we also have the Golden Citizen Program that provides for B.E.L. paying the light bills of the elderly for up to a year. One of the things that we’ve been trying to get the public to understand though is that these illegal connections are very dangerous to the community. We have wires that are typically non-standard wires running down poles, on the streets, through yards, on fences that pose a serious risk to the community, to the homeowner and also to the B.E.L. employee who must climb these posts from time to time to service the lines. These illegal connections were removed so that we could restore power to these communities. Remember we had to disconnect power leading to these communities because we did not want people to be electrocuted. We had to disconnect the power until we were able to go in there…I think it was eleven hours thereafter…to remove these hazardous lines that were on the ground, in yards, in water and so we were able to restore power sometime yesterday.”

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