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Blackout caused by fire on contaminated key transmission line says BEL

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Posted: Thursday, April 23, 2020. 9:40 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) has confirmed that a burnt cross-arm on a transmission structure in the Orange Walk District led to a temporary system collapse that resulted in a near-national blackout around 1:26 this morning.

The fault affected the 115kV transmission line that connects the national grid to the Mexican grid. At the time, the Mexican grid was supplying most of the energy being used in Belize.

A statement says this was the result of excessive dust build-up on power line equipment, which caused an electrical fault on the structure.

BEL has faced a recent increase in pole fires due to excessive contaminants on insulators that cause them to fail, and bush fires that damage poles. This is a result of the extended drought and dry season which have increase dust, smoke and soot contamination on power line equipment.

Repairs began almost immediately and power restored for most areas by 3:00 and to remaining areas of the Belize and Corozal Districts between 4:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

The ongoing weather conditions will continue to present challenges, and may potentially cause more outages. However, BEL assures customers that we continue to implement our intensified countrywide system maintenance program to mitigate these challenges. Our line teams are also working diligently in these challenging weather conditions while maintaining social distancing and using additional personal protective equipment in adherence to COVID-19 preventative measures.

The released ended by thanking customers for their patience

 

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