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Jun 6, 2005

Line fault causes 11-hour nationwide blackout

Sunday was not a good day for Belize Electricity Limited, nor, for that matter, virtually every resident of Belize. Around seven-thirty in the morning, the nation was plunged into blackout and power was not restored until over eleven hours later. The cause, according to a B.E.L. release, was a fault on the western transmission line that disrupted the supply of energy from the Mollejon and gas turbine plants. That fault turned out to be a failed lightning arrestor at the Westlake Substation on the Western Highway which B.E.L. says proved very difficult to locate. The problem was compounded by an interruption of the electricity supply from Mexico caused by a scheduled maintenance shutdown across the border. Power from Mexico was restored at six forty-one p.m., about an hour after the fault was repaired at Westlake. Over the last several months, B.E.L. has been plagued by numerous incidents of sabotage–believed to be politically motivated–that have interrupted the supply of electricity. Sunday’s outage, however, was not attributed to sabotage.


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