By Herbert Vego
AS a power consumer here in Iloilo City, I have become “addicted” to the Facebook page of MORE Power. It is the best way to keep abreast of developments aimed at modernizing the distribution utility to world-class standard. Unfortunately, we have neighbors who seem to see only the dark side of power interruptions. Their complaints, nevertheless, find space in the utility’s FB page.
Here’s one from James:
“May urgency man ayhan kamo, MORE? Kaina pa sang alas singko nadula di kuryente asta subung wala gihapon. Katalamad mag hulag kon mainit. Na-intiende man kamo tuod pero kis-a daw sobra na inyo ya. Kinahanglan pa kamo lambingon para di na kamo mag sunggod kag ibalik ninyo kuryente namon?”
To which he got a brief reply: “This is a scheduled power interruption.”
James went on to say, “Teh, huo, mabakal nalang ko kalan kay di man gali mapuslan rice cooker namon.”
James has the right to burn charcoal or wood for his clay stove. But he forgets that the power distributor loses more than he because, with each brownout, it loses thousands or millions of pesos in missed income. That’s why its management has to go beyond band-aid solutions.
It takes an open mind to realize that a scheduled power interruption may be necessary. Maintenance, minor improvements and large growth projects are the main reasons a power outage may be scheduled. These measures enable linemen to replace damaged or aging equipment and upgrade the system to increase electric reliability and support future growth.
By shutting off the power in a controlled and planned manner for only a set number of customers, the distribution utility prevents worse troubles and ensure continuous power supply in the future.
Let us remember that when MORE Power took over from the previous franchisee in 2020, it had to overhaul or replace substations and upgrade transformers, poles, crossbars, and wires, among others. This is in line with its modernization program aimed at eliminating or minimizing scheduled power interruptions.
To quote MORE Power President Roel Castro in his message to delegates to a business conference, said that his company “is focused on innovations for sustainable energy supply toward a cost-effective and efficient energization.”
Unscheduled power outages, on the other hand, could not be pre-announced, since they are unpredictable and unavoidable. Severe weather incidents, accidents and other unexpected events can damage transmission lines, substations or other parts of the grid. Even entangled kites and balloons could disrupt power.
It behooves us, therefore, to brace for both planned and unplanned outages. As this corner recently elucidated, there are alternate power sources, one of which is installation of solar panels that could be connected to the distribution utility. We now have solar companies selling and installing solar panels, one of which is Peak Power. Even during power failure at night, battery-stored solar energy may be harnessed.
‘A BITTERSWEET ACCOMPLISHMENT’
THAT was how Brigadier General Sidney Villaflor, regional director of the Philippine National Police (PNP), described their performance in Western Visayas.
That is understandable. It’s no peanuts that his office has seized P222 million worth of shabu in the past nine months.
But he sees no end in sight to the proliferation of shabu and other illegal drugs in the region. What used to be a few grams of shabu confiscated from each peddler has turned into hundreds of kilos.
Ask the ordinary tricycle or sikad driver caught in possession of shabu sachets. He would simply answer, “I don’t earn enough from pedal pushing. But drug pushing would feed my family three full meals daily.”
That reminds us of the saying, “Necessity knows no law.”
So, for each peddler caught, one or two come to take over.
We have yet to see any of them naming their “untouchable” sources who ship into Philippine ports tons of shabu. Otherwise, they would pay with their own lives.
We find no sincerity in speeches of politicians vowing to punish big-time druglords, who are personally known to them for being among their biggest campaign fund raisers.
The involvements of police authorities in protecting unnamed drug importers can no longer be denied.
Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. has already confirmed the involvement of Master Sgt. Rodolfo Mayo Jr. and nine other PNP officers behind the storage of 990 kilos of shabu in Manila in April 2022.
We heard that criminal cases have been filed against them. But beyond that, ewan natin.