Understanding sudden brownouts

By Herbert Vego

WHAT’s life without electricity? Can we imagine city life without it? No need to just imagine because we experience it on days when power trips off. When limited to a portion of the power-coverage area – presumably secondary to a lightning strike or strong winds knocking down power lines — we call it a “brownout”.

This was what surprised us here in Iloilo City the other night during a sudden downpour punctuated by lightning and thunder. Where I live, it took two hours to regain electricity. Fortunately, I own bright rechargeable lights which lighted our home while we were eating dinner.

If we heard our neighbors yell, “Ay kalinti,” it could have been their usual way of cursing an unpleasant stimulus, unless they had just been influenced by vlogger Tbon.

Levity aside, some reactions that found their way to the Facebook page of MORE Power cursed the city’s power distribution utility for the darkness. Here’s one, edited and translated from Ilonggo to English:

“Why now naman when there are too many mosquitos biting our baby?”

I would like to think that it’s a parent’s knee-jerk reaction.  But there are ways to react to a power emergency on our own, such as having rechargeable lamps and electric fans, power banks for cellular phones, battery-powered radio sets, blah blah blah.

We tend to forget that it’s the power distributors that lose the most income whenever our electric meters stop turning. Thus, they have more reasons than we to keep our lights and appliances functional.

As far as the other night’s incident was concerned, the original fault was traced not to MORE Power’s electrical lines but to NGCPs.  NGCP stands for the National Grid Power Corporation, which has the task of transmitting electricity from the power generators to such distributors as MORE Power and Iloilo Electric Cooperative (ILECO).

As a layman, I am not privy to how the generators, NGCP and distributors orchestrate their moves.  Suffice it to say that without their collaborative efforts, we consumers would grope in the dark.

On the positive side, it could have been a blessing in disguise that the brownouts in various barangays of the city tested the mettle of MORE Power’s newly-acquired digital software known as Work Order and Asset Management System (WOAMS), which it had developed in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

In his speech during its launching at Richmonde Hotel, MORE Power President/CEO Roel Z. Castro said, “WOAMS is very important for us. When we started three years ago, our systems were heavily burdened. I’m happy that after three years, the consumers are feeling the improvements in our service.”

The WOAMS is expected to further improve response time to customers’ concerns, now within 15 minutes or even less; to further reduce the system’s loss, which has so far slid from a high of 30 percent to just about 5.5 percent; and to further strip the electricity rates to the barest minimum.

Ay, Tbon, kanami!



IT has been four decades since we worked together for a local paper, Panay News. Within that long span of time — na parang kahapon lamang –she has given birth to two sons, who are now professionals in South Carolina, USA.  I refer to Eden Jacosalem Stewart, married to Tim Stewart, by whom she has given birth to sons Mac and Vincent.

They are now on an extensive tour around the tourist spots of Panay Island.

It was while working with me during the regime of dictator Ferdinand Edralin Marcos’ that she met Tim, an American Peace Corps volunteer. They got married at St. Clement’s Cathedral in La Paz, Iloilo City on June 21, 1987.

A Mass Communications graduate of St, Paul College-Iloilo (Class 1982), she moved on to work with Tim in his native state of South Carolina.

What a nostalgic joy to re-bond with these fellow “young once”!



CONGRATULATIONS to the West GEDDS Juniors, the team representing the Integrated Laboratory School, for winning the football championship at the West Visayas State University (WVSU) Football Grounds last Saturday, October 21.

The team outperformed nine other football teams in the under-13 category, defeating Team Tubungan in the championship round with a decisive 2-0 victory after emerging with a 4-1 win-loss standing during the preliminary and semi-final rounds.

The football festival was sponsored by the West GEDD’s Football Club.