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Belize - Utilities

Electricity throughout Belize is provided by Belize Electric, Limited (BEL), which was recently privatized. They are now pushing a dam as part of the Chililo Project, in order to provide Belize with electricity that does not come from outside sources. The truth however, is that BEL is mainly owned by Canadian interests, the dam will be built by a Canadian firm and will not come close to setting Belize free from outside power sources. Most of the power in Belize comes from a huge power plant close to Merida in Mexico. The electricity provided is 110 volts or 60 cycles.

In Belize both Propane and Butane gases are available. Butane works just fine in Belize and it is cheaper than Propane too. There is no mains piped gas and all gas appliances work from gas cylinder bottles which can be ordered and delivered by local suppliers.

Most towns and villages in Belize try to supply their residents with piped water. The water quality depends upon the depth of the well. For example, if you wanted lovely crystal clear water you would probably need to go down 100 or more feet. After the water is collected, it is heavily chlorinated, therefore many people drink bottled water or rain water gathered in a cistern.

You are required to put all of your refuse out in a 'dirt bin' at the side of the road. The refuse truck and two collectors come around weekly to remove it. All refuse must be safely gathered in strong rubbish bags.

The Postal Service in Belize is getting better all the time. There are postal boxes available for those who live outside of town. You have to go to the post office in order to collect parcels, for which there is a small inspection fee (usually only about a dollar) to pay, as well as perhaps some duty and taxes, especially if the package is insured.

The telephone service in Belize is provided by Belize Telecommunications, Limited (BTL). The standard of the equipment meets Bell, meaning that the home telephone equipment and modems will work as well as they do in the United States. Cell or mobile phones however may not meet the same standard. The telephone rates in Belize are exorbitant, as BTL enjoy profit margins of around 40%.

BTL changed to the standard internationally recognized set of numbers, with a three digit area code(501) and a seven digit number. BTL also offer different categories of DSL, promising around 100K, they deliver only around 50K consistently. However, this is better than the 23-24K dial up internet service. There are a number of internet caf├ęs for use by inhabitants who do not have internet access at home.

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