Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Belize debate on national grid electricity versus solar and battery power.
RURAL BELIZE DEBATE MERITS NATIONAL BEL POWER GRID VERSUS SOLAR AND BATTERY OPERATED SYSTEMS. IN `PLACENTIA, SOLAR AND BATTERY ARE MORE EXPENSIVE IN ONE WAY, BUT CHEAPER IN OTHERS, DUE TO BAD BEL ( national grid ) SERVICE. IN THE TOLEDO DISTRICT HALF THE VILLAGES HAVE NO WORKABLE ELECTRICITY SYSTEM AT ALL.
LOOKS LIKE FROM SOUTH OF THE CAPITAL BELMOPAN AND THE HUMMINGBIRD GAP OVER THE MOUNTAIN RIDGE, ONE THIRD OF THE COUNTRY TO THE SOUTHERN END OF BELIZE, IS EXERIENCING ATROCIOUS ELECTRICITY INFRA-STRUCTURE SERVICE FROM BEL.
"Hmmmm. Like everything else in Belize price of freedom is variable and relative to local circumstances.
Quality of BEL service must vary greatly in different areas of Belize. I may be in a better cost for service situation than some nearby people on grid in a short time. During the days we had so much rain down here we had severe lightening too. Due to ups and downs of power on the Placencia Peninsula (power surges/low voltage/frequent short power outs/lightening strikes, etc.) one friend's business had been partially shut down for several days because refrigeration unit was damaged. Another person lost two tvs. At least 3 have lost microwaves including one that caught fire. Another had lightening travel on line into her house and melt and actually burn her phone and dsl modem and some other equipment. Those are just the people who have listed losses online over the past week or so. Many, many complaints that power has been going on and off for a few mins, every 10 mins or so.
Charles can probably give a better assessment because he lives in and is Village Chair of Placencia, but it sounds pretty bad. I don't take the complaints as exaggerations because we had a rental house on grid during recent construction of this house and I observed similar problems. At the rental, my house power would dim every time a neighbor's water heater, fridge, power tools, etc. were turned on. Several times I woke mid-night to a loud whack sound because the breakers had tripped and surge protectors burned out.
I haven't been out and about in Independence this week to hear what on-grid people are saying but the situation is usually similar on the mainland side of the lagoon as on the peninsula. One of the times my breakers tripped last year on grid power, almost everyone on my street besides my family lost tvs, microwaves, fans, power tools, computers, fax machines or refrigeration. Hardly anyone ever gets compensated by BEL and each incident is usually in the value range where it would cost long term to claim on homeowners. Lots of people don't have homeowners insurgence due to high cost.
If I go 10 years on my independent power system with no loss or decreased service life of my expensive electric appliances and electronic units I may actually come out at lower cost than many who are on grid. For lightening protection we have proper grounding and lightening arresters between each part of our system. Anyone could take a lightening strike but I think we are less likely too than if we were connected to miles of copper wire and with apparently too few safety features to reduce damage."
Posted by A Professional BEACH BUM retires in Belize! at 11:40 PM