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Jun 7, 2011

What happened to B.E.L.’s suppliers?

Time is running out for Belize Electricity Limited as its arrangement with the Comisión Federal de Electricidad (C.F.E.) of Mexico, which supplies about seventy percent of the country with power, is maxed out.  Massive and rolling blackouts can arise if B.E.L. is unable to make regular payments to keep its eight million dollar debt to CFE below the credit limit and Prime Minister Dean Barrow says that B.E.L. will have to handle its own affairs. On Friday, B.E.L.’s C.E.O., Lynn Young said that the company had about ten to twelve days before it needs to come up with more cash. B.E.L. was previously getting thirty-three percent of its power supply from Mexico and the bulk of power from at least four other suppliers including Belize Electric Company Limited (BECOL), Belize Cogeneration Energy Limited (BELCOGEN) Hydro Maya, Belize Aquaculture Limited and a small portion from B.E.L.’s diesel generators. The construction of BECOL’s VACA and Chalillo Dams and the sugar industry’s BELCOGEN were once seen as the only way to wean the country off Mexico’s power grid.  So what happened to make the country dependent once more on Mexico? That’s what we asked B.E.L.’s C.E.O. in a sit-down with News Five.

Lynn Young, C.E.O., B.E.L.

Lynn Young

“Last year, for the whole year, in previous years we use to get about sixty percent from CFE for the whole year. Last year, it dropped to about thirty-five percent  with the addition of the Vaca Hydro plant BAL that had come online and of course BELCOGEN. So far this year, we’ve had a lot of bad luck. BAL hasn’t been able to produce because one; they couldn’t get good fuel. They were getting fuel from Blue Sky and then Blue Sky went out of business and they had issues there and they have been trying to get affordable fuel. So far I think they are still trying to do that, but the plant hasn’t been operating. And we’ve been talking to them to try to see if we can get the plant operating again. But their price right now would be even more than CFE because they are using pure…So that wouldn’t really help us as far as the financial part goes. BELCOGEN was supposed to give us about one hundred and five giga watt hours which is one hundred and five million kilowatt hours a year.  They haven’t been giving us that much.  Last year we got less than fifty percent of that from there and this year it has been really bad because of all the issues they’ve been having. Now the price form BELCOGEN is almost half of Mexico has been charging us recently. Similarly with the hydro; the hydro is very cheap compared to Mexico or BAL for example or if we were to generate with diesel. But as luck would have it, we are having one of the driest dry seasons that we’ve ever had. Because of the problems with BELCOGEN, we ended up running down the reservoir from the Hydro much faster than we wanted to.  So we have to keep a certain amount of water in the reservoir for emergencies. And so we’ve been taking for this first part of the year about seventy percent of our power from Mexico.”

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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13 Responses for “What happened to B.E.L.’s suppliers?”

  1. Rod says:

    Then again there is no leadership in the country hense there is total chaos happening and the country of Belize is becoming a failed state.


    The Government of Belize should have kept Telephone,Electricity and water.Nothing good has come out of these privatizations,wxcwpt for high costs and problems.Belize is such a small country with a very small population.We should be a la par with luxemburg in Europe and Montecarlo,but govenrment corruption,inefficiency,stupidity,moronity,and uneducated soutions is what have causedthis Jewel to be more of a cancer for its populations than anything else.

  3. mick says:

    Put BEL under receivership and have a team analyze the current practices! Examine management as they are responsible for some of this mess and relieve some of their duties!

  4. DT says:

    Whatever happened to the 3 dams in Cayo? Weren’t they supposed to:
    a. Provide cleaner electricity.
    b. reduce the dependency on Mexican electricity by 2/3rds?
    c. Lower the rates – cheaper electricity for Belizeans?
    d. Not pollute our rivers?

    More lies! When are Belizeans going to get tired of the lies and do something about it?

    Answer: Never, as they get their wee bit of cash or land, or bothe on polling day!

  5. Roy Yates says:

    Well said George Alamilla, but you have to realize the kind of GENE pool that make up those societies. Belize is is a polyglot society, with lots of limited mental creative imagination. Creative imagination comes from strong genetic pool.Further, how can you expect Belize politicians to perform at a high level when they went into office with little or no exposure in handling large capital resources. How many of them were exposed to the economic strategy of capital creation that enable them to make rational decision when presented with complex economic program or project? How many of the Politicians had One million dollars prior to taking office?

    Lots of advantages have been taken of the country by International Lenders, such as the super Bonds that is a millstone around the neck of the country, and the government is impotent in fixing the debt obligation due to lact of knowledge. The same goes for the privetization rip off. They sold off the utility companies to get quick cash to satisfy a political promises, butthe country is left with the long term problem of draining the foreign reserve to pay off the owners. All the hoopla about sustainable energy and the country is no better off in delivering affordable energy. BOYS playing in grown men games. International bankers has no mercy when it come to dealing with borrowers in the international arena.

  6. oscar965 says:

    What i fail to understand is that they do not have money to pay something so critical but at the end of the year they will register profits in the millions similar to BTL. What I do know is that BEL has a mandate to provide us with 24hour electricity. I will give them a break if there is a natural disaster like a hurricane, flood or fire that may damage the system but if it is because they cannot get thier accounting together then they should buy power even if they loose money. So many business here in Belize operate at a loss but still give the service example hotels, restaurants, the airlines just to name a few. Some days you win and some days you loose…but BEL and BTL love to win…and have profit every single year….I want my electricty 24/7 even if it means that they will loose some of thier profits at the end of the year… Get your act together BEL……

  7. Earl Grey says:

    are we doing ANY BETTER ?????????????

  8. Oscar says:

    they need new managers please hire new managers and help to remove the sodomy laws from the constitution.

  9. Jake says:

    Maybe I am naive to all whats taking place with BEL or any utility company. Please someone answer me. Every body have to pay their light bill or else they will get cut right. So BEL is always on the winning side, and I know that they will charge a rate where they could make profits and not losses. Yes I know that they have other expenses from time to time whether it be reqular maintenance expenses or expenses which is caused by naural disasters, and sometimes those are humongous, but all of those should be budgeted for and I know that their financial wizard included those in their budget year in year out, even if a disaster does not strike. So I don’t see why or can’t understand why BEL cannot meet it’s payments to C.F.E.

  10. Maverick says:

    Belize has the lowest electricity rates in the Caribbean except for Trinidad, and actually one of the lower ones in Central America. The only solution to this mess is for promotion of investment by non-related parties in renewable energy projects like more hydros, wind and solar arrays, which will keep the cost of power down and ensure sustainability.

  11. oscar965 says:

    i can answer you Earl Grey…we are not better off…i along with so many other Belizeans continue to elect politicians who just end up filling up thier pockets and are raping this country clean…i don’t even feel like ever voting again but if i do not vote then i do not have right to complain..and i love to complain…

  12. Michael says:

    The monthly electricity bill for most ordinary folks is about $150. Can anyone tell me of a better value you can get for $150 for one month of comfort. Try taking $150 to Brodies and see if you can purchase enough of anything to last a month. Can anyone deny what BEL is saying about the dry season or about Belcogen. Maybe we all need to face the truth and realize that electricity is valuable, but subject to uncontrolable factors and therefore the price will vary sometimes up sometimes down. But at theend of the day, the consumer must pay the cost as long as the compnay is doing its best to manage and keep the prices as low aqs possible and reliability of supply high as possible. The alternative is going back to lamps and zero electricity bills.

  13. Disappointed says:

    Michael you must benefit financially from BEL to make such an asinine statement. This is the highest electricity in the world and if they raise the rates for what is going on now when the situation change they will not change it back once they raise it it will just keep going up. When they raise it high enough and we cannot afford it they will disconnect it and we will have to go back to lamps anyway they don’t care as long as their bottom line shows big profits to go in their pockets. The bottom line is they mismanaged the finances and now they want us the consumers to keep them in the lifestyle they enjoy and that is the bottom line MONEY .

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