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BEL experiences temporary generation shortages due to curtailment of supply from CFE

Posted: Friday, April 19, 2024. 5:23 pm CST.

Contributed: Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) informs Customers that, yesterday Thursday April 18, between 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., it was unable to fully meet demand for power due to the curtailment of supply from our key supplier, Comisión Federal de Electricidad (CFE) in Mexico. As a result, BEL had to conduct load shedding of various feeders in Belmopan, San Pedro, and in the South until the situation was normalized around 9:00 p.m.

The Yucatan Peninsula, including Mexico’s popular tourist destinations, has been experiencing rapid economic growth, leading to a significant increase in energy demand, similar to the trends observed in Belize. Demand for power in Mexico reaches its daily peak during the late evening hours, between 7:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., and, at times, CFE has had to limit the energy supplied to Belize due to generation supply constraints. In such circumstances, BEL relies on in-country generation capacity to meet local demand. However, if demand on the grid exceeds local generation supply, power interruptions then become necessary to maintain grid stability. 

It is essential to highlight Mexico’s historical role as a strong and reliable partner in supplying energy to Belize. The interconnection with CFE has been our most reliable source of power to date and has enabled Belize to maintain some of the lowest electricity rates in the Caribbean and Central America over many years. However, unprecedented growth in consumption, changing climate conditions, and delays in getting generation sources online, in both Mexico and Belize, are now impacting our ability to meet demand.

BEL expects that the curtailments of supply from Mexico will continue throughout the next few months and may increase further into the future. It is for this reason that the Company has been making every effort to encourage and facilitate the development of utility-scale solar generation sources supported by gas power plants and battery storage solutions as required by our Least Cost System Expansion Plan.

In the meantime, we are taking pro-active measures to address the immediate generation shortage. Upgrades to our Gas Turbine at BEL’s West Lake facility (Mile 8 George Price Highway) are on track to be completed by early May and a mobile gas turbine is scheduled to be installed in San Pedro before the end of May. These will add 30 MW of additional generation capacity to the grid, substantially improving our ability to meet demand for power into next year even when CFE is unavailable.

BEL remains committed to delivering safe, reliable, and sustainable energy solutions to our Customers. We thank our Customers and the public for their understanding and cooperation as we continue to make every effort to maintain stable and reliable electricity supply to all our service areas throughout our country.

 

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