Thursday, June 9, 2011


BEL the Belize electrical transmission grid company, is bankrupt?

So says, the Prime Minister of Belize according to messages being tossed back and forth on the internet forums. FORTIS is reputed to be the owner of the shares in BEL, but the Prime Minister is being quoted in talk forums, that the BEL shares are worthless if this is true. The Prime Minister has paid up to $4 million to Mexico for imported electricity, intended to keep the supply of electricity steady, or the business community and the economy will collapse. The $4 million is said to cover 12 days of electrical supply bought from Mexico.

No government so far in Belize, and the current government is no different, has yet passed legislation often requested by Belizeans over the past 15 years, covering NET METERING. Which would allow private citizens and companies to legally sell electricity, without fear or favor politically, to the National Grid. Thus stimulating innovation and entrepreneurialship for us to become self sufficient electrical producers. Thus staving off such economic threatening disasters such as this. A monoply was wanted as in the UK parliamentry, Robber Baron model of government in the past, to the present. That system we have, and this disaster of our own governmental policy mismanagement making is the result. If two out of six expected hurricanes hit Belize this season, we can expect the situation to get worse. OVER CONTROl is the fault in this type of governing model.

In the meantime, it is thought and debated by the public of the need to NATIONALIZE BEL, the distribution company for the power grid while the company is bankrupt and the shares are worthless. No payment would have to be made to the parent company, FORTIS of CANADA, as I understand it? BEL then could be offered to a NEW OPERATOR on terms more advantageous to Belize.


From the public comments on the Belize Culture Listserve:

Anne, thanks for explanation. I had not recalled all the details, but in light of that final $30mil transaction it seems to me that Forttis should bail out BEL if BEL can't pay.


On Fri, Jun 10, 2011 at 9:22 AM, anne wade wrote:

BEL got the transmission line from the original owners of the dam for $1 as it was the sensible thing for that company to do - BEL being the transmission and distribution provider is responsible for maintenance of its system. Part of the package when some adjustments were being done to the original master agreement between the two companies. Please remember, that cost for hydro power would have factored in the cost of building the lines anyway, and the Belize consumer would be paying the cost of hydro power in the electricity rates they pay. So selling for a $1 was not because the company wanted to gift BEL. They were getting their investment back from the rate payers. It was the sensible thing to do. (BEL gets back maintenance costs from consumers.)

However, when Fortis bought the generator shortly after, they had BEL agree to pay them 30million for the hydro lines. In essence, BEL gave back the lines to BECOL (Fortis) and agreed to pay them for it - one way of skimming 30 million out of BEL for Fortis. And BEL wants the consumers to again, pay for their 30 million dollar gift to Fortis.This message sent to the Bz-Culture Mailing List from MEL :
The whole financing structure of the dam was a raw deal. They could borrow a move out of Ashcroft's playbook. Let BEL go bankrupt. Create a new national electricity distribution company - bel- lower case not upper case; and renegotiate terms with BECOL.


On Fri Jun 10th, 2011 7:21 AM PDT lynn . wrote:

>Yep. Was it last year (or the year before) that Stan Marshall of FORTIS more or less
>threatened rolling blackouts and brownouts if BEL didn't get a rate
>Is it BECOL that owns the main transmission line? I seem to recall one of
>the companies got the main transmission line for $1 when the deals for the
>dams were done.
>On Thu, Jun 9, 2011 at 7:56 PM, Mary Toy wrote:
>> The key to the whole situation is BECOL and nationalizing BEL will
>> accomplish absolutely nothing. BECOL owns the dams and BECOL is the money
>> machine. Nationalize BEL and you get nothing – except debt to BECOL.
>> And, is it my imagination or does this same situation happen every single
>> year about this time. (And that’s not really a question.)


From my viewpoint, if you have an employee like FORTIS who cannot do the job, then we should do it ourselves. Obviously we cannot do worse, if FORTIS cannot manage the electric distribution company.

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