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Nov 10, 2009

B.E.L. purchases energy from local sources

Story PictureThe Comision Federal de Electricidad from Mexico, last week announced it was canceling its firm contract for electricity supply to the Belize Electricity Limited, one of the biggest utility companies in Belize. B.E.L. responded saying that it had the capacity to fulfill the energy demand. According to its C.E.O., Lynn Young, the Mexican supplier has been experiencing problems with gas supplies. This morning Young sat on the couch on Open Your Eyes and explained that B.E.L. is purchasing energy from local sources when the prices are cheaper, but it is still purchasing from C.F.E. on a daily and hourly basis.

Lynn Young, C.E.O., Belize Electricity Limited
“The contract that we had with C.F.E. is based on gas and because they’re having these problems with their gas plants, they’ve decided to claim force majore, which is to say things have happened outside their control and they don’t anticipate that they will resolve these problems before the end of next year. Gas power generation right now is running about six cents Us per kilowatt hour, whereas when you generate with diesel heavy fuel it might be fifteen cents US per kilowatt hour. What we have been doing is that, especially on weekends, we would buy power from Mexico as much as we can and not use our gas turbine or BAL or some of the more expensive sources that we have.”

“We expect BELCOGEN, the bagasse plant to come online in December. Right now we are taking test energy from BELCOGEN but they are generating with heavy fuel right now so it’s kind of expensive right now. But when they start burning the bagasse, which will be in December, the price of that should come down a little bit. What we are aiming at and we are in that position now is to have enough supply in-country that we can supple all our own power. We can do that right now with the equipment that we have and when BELCOGEN comes online and the Vaca Dam comes online we will have about thirty percent reserve capacity in-country. So we can be totally independent of Mexico. What we will negotiate with Mexico is strictly an economic arrangement where we will buy power from them when that power is cheap enough. But on top of that we are doing some studies to find ways that if they drop off the system, it doesn’t collapse our entire system.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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