Thursday, September 24, 2009

Electrical Power Outages 'brownouts' in Marinduque

A few days ago, blogger Eli Obligacion, on his blog 'Marinduquegov', published a very informative article about the reasons behind the frequent power outages here in Marinduque read

From what i'm gathering there was a major failure at the power barge on the night of Sept 22nd, and there has been no power since yesterday. I'm running on generator at the moment, but can't keep it up forever - petrol is quite expensive, and the generator consumes quite a lot!

It is pretty obvious at this point that the reasons behind the problem are almost purely political - it seems that in 2004 the Marinduque Electrical Cooperative (Marelco) decided to ditch Napocor's services and engage a 3rd party power provider - this company (referred to as 'NPP' - new power provider) never did anything, and now, 5 years later, the problem has degenerated to the point where it is causing severe economic hardship to the inhabitants of Marinduque - tourism cannot take off, and the island seems stuck in the 1990's.

Napocor (national power corporation) at this point are washing their hands - seems that Marinduque brought the problem on itself - Napocor say, rightly, that the powerbarge was only meant to be a temporary solution - that it's ageing and beginning to fail (as we are experiencing) and that it cannot be expanded to cope with increased power demand.

And what about the bigwigs at the capitol? it seems they are enjoying their airconditioned offices.. the capitol is well known as the only area of Marinduque that doesn't suffer regular powercuts. Seems pen-pushing is considered more important that any other activity on this island, and all that pen-pushing isn't helping at all when it comes to solving Marinduque's greatest problem - unreliable electric supply!

this post didn't get posted yesterday because my generator decided to pack up before I managed to - turns out it was a problem with the carburettor float, and it was getting flooded - anyway - in Boac later, Marelco sent a van round with speakers on top repeating a message blaming Napocor for the lack of power. The consensus was that we were going to be with no electricity for at least a month, probably till November! Actually power in Gasan was restored late in the evening, so the total outage was about 36 hours or so. I really think that Marelco blaming Napocor, or even sending vans around blaming people, will not help the situation. Someone needs to stand up and get things going - it's been 5 years since the current failed agreements were signed, for pete's sake, something needs to be done!