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May 29, 2001

Rains are good news for power company

While the continuing heavy rains have some rural residents fearing floods and many Belize City folks rushing out to buy boots, the sound of pitter-patter on the roof has been good news for B.E.L. Consistent showers over the Maya Mountains have filled the Macal basin to the point where the river is running over the spillway at Mollejon. The hydroelectric facility, with all three of its turbines back from routine maintenance, is turning out power well above its design specifications, supplying a continuous twenty-nine megawatts of current to the national grid. To meet the average daytime demand of thirty-six megawatts, the hydropower is supplemented by relatively cheap electricity purchased from Mexico. When evening demand reaches a peak of forty-two megawatts and Mexican power almost quadruples in price, the thirteen-megawatt shortfall is taken up by diesel generators in Belize City and Belmopan. During the year 2000 Mollejon produced a record ninety-three gigawatt hours of electricity and this year is projecting production of one hundred.

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