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Roaming Brownouts

Last Friday I wrote about the increase of traffic in the city. Well that is not the only problem for Davao. With the increase of construction and population, there is an increase on the public utilities. This is not only for Davao since the island of Mindanao is on a power grid. Last Friday in Live in the Philippines Bob wrote about the problem of scheduled brownouts all over the country.

Looking into this I have found different articles online with different reasons. One is that one of the hydroelectric generating systems are having low output since the lake that feeds it is well below normal levels due to low rainfall. Others have blamed it on maintenance downtime at other generating plants.

Well it has started. Monday I was at a friend’s house and he mentioned there was no power. Eventually the power came back on after an hour. Tuesday morning at my house, the power went off late morning for a half hour. Then my friend lost power Thursday morning for an hour and we lost it that evening for an hour. It looks like each day, or every other day they will turn power off for an area to reduce usage.

I hope the power company will then want to charge more for their loss of income like the Florida utility company wanted. After Hurricane Wilma ripped through Florida, many power lines were knocked down. Many areas lost power for a week or more. The power company then asked to raise prices since all the income they lost from customers when the lines were down.

I think it is also because of the fact as cities grow; there is no forethought to expansion of the services until they are over taxed and then they realize the need for more. It is like zoning. Even though Davao City is like a county in American definition, most of the population lives close to the downtown areas due to transportation. Many roads are narrow and the major roads are mainly two lanes each direction. Many of these primary roads need to be expanded but cannot because the buildings are in the way. As the city was being developed, there was probably not any thought to expansion.

To widen the roads buildings would need to be trimmed back. To keep structural integrity it would be easier to demolish and rebuild. Who would pay for this, the building owners could not afford it and neither could the city. So probably, the roads will stay the same.

I have heard of thoughts to limiting the personal vehicles on some kind of system to limit vehicles on a schedule use. Maybe license plates with odd numbers can only drive on odd days. One thought I had was reducing all the jeepneys and replacing them with busses and specified bus stops. But then you are putting many people out of work. Someone mentioned raised commuter trains but with the narrow roads and all the power lines crisscrossing all the roads, this would be another nightmare.

The next few years will be interesting how the city will cope with its growth.

12 Responses to “Roaming Brownouts”

  1. Marvin says:

    Tuguegarao City has been having outages everyday, sometimes only a few minutes, other times all day. Most annoying are the government offices, printing and copying offices, court rooms, all stop doing their jobs until power returns. Adding to that, the amount of pollution created by so many small gas powered generators outside every store and salon coupled with the already high polluting motorcycles condensed into one small downtown area already broiled in heat and humidity, I don’t know how much more our lungs can take.

    • Bruce says:

      Marvin,
      Again today we had a one hour brownout. I looked online and all the words from the Power company says they can handle the drop and does not mention the brownouts. Another source says they will be held to a 30 minute outage where in truth we are getting 1 hour outages.
      With all the old vehicles, 2 stroke motorcycles and open fire cooking, pollution is something that will never go away until public transportation vehicles are all clean fuel or electric.

  2. roger says:

    So that is what the pinays mean when they go offline for a while in the midst of a chat. I thought it just meant that the power supply was reduced to a trickle or some such.

    How about advocating the use of solar panels for the home owner? They get quite a lot of sunlight over there. Has any one suggested this already? I would have thought it would be top priority for the GMA ship of State.

    • Bruce says:

      Roger,
      Yes, I forgot to mention here a brownout is localized power outage, not a reduced wattage. Blackouts is when a vast area loses power.
      Solar wind and ocean current power generation is a good alternative, but how can the poor afford it.

  3. don m. says:

    just got back last night. In leyte they had one day without power but it was posted at the power company. In the national papers it seemed to be a big topic. The bigist thing we noticed was no AC at the robinsons mall–all other services were full bore as normal. They must have one huge generator there.

    • Bruce says:

      Don M,
      I am going to research it further here and try to report. One mall we frequent has generators and run everything except the elevators. AC has not been turned off.

  4. My friend in Iligan says they have had scheduled power outages for some time now, every day. Low waterlevels is the reason. What I wonder is: Is the hydropower plant in Iligan supporting the whole Mindanao?

    • Bruce says:

      Stefan,
      I heard today while discussing the matter there is a drought over most of the Philippines. I am not sure of all the generating locations but will look into it. So far today there has not been a brownout. I hope we are spared, I hate it when it happens after dark.

  5. rich says:

    This is why i will have a battery system even if solar does not get efficient enough 🙂

    maybe bloom servers will be ready by that time 🙂

  6. Kenneth Crawley says:

    I am at the SM a lot. When the power goes off and the generators of the mall take over, it stays cool inside.
    Yesterday after the class, I went down the street to the NCCC. The power went out, the place got H O T !!
    After it got hot in the mall, it then got HOTTER and HOTTER. It was like a steam bath in the NCCC. I finally ran outside and walked to the water company building and took a tricycle to the SM where it was cool inside.

    • Bruce says:

      Kenneth,
      Yes, generators can do just so much. Too bad there is no scheduled brownouts where we can adjust our schedule or plan where to go.

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