ILECO’s Substandard Service in Savannah Subdivison, Iloilo

ILECO's substandard service in Savannah Subdivison, Iloilo, where we reside, is an ongoing problem that is increasingly worsening. I long for the days when I complained about 44 brownouts we experienced from late October 2011 through late June 2012 in a post titled Iloilo's bothersome brownouts.ILECO

We've experienced 19 power outages this month  from July 6-July 21, 69 since the start of the year, some lasting over 12 hours.  Those 44 brownouts I previously wrote about are looking pretty good now.  It's making leaving Iloilo even more appealing. If it was up to me, we would be back in  Guimaras, my asawa' s home province, tomorrow.

My blood pressure  shot up to 157/102 at the time I wrote this article.  That's not good. ILECO, Iloilo Electric Cooperative, Inc., is not helping matters. Our land property manager, Sir Roy, is supposedly working with our "power" company to determine the cause of our frequent power outages. 

I'm not going to hold my breath. If it's anything like our daily water program that was supposed to begin last October, I hold out little hope that the brownouts will decrease. I've resigned myself to water only three times a week and limited power until we make our move back to the mango province of Guimaras. Sexy Asian electrician

(This would be our electrician in an alternate universe. Photo source: www.collegehumor.com )

But while I was pondering the sorry state of our infrastructure, I decided to look over our past bills from ILECO and post them in this article. A recent comment from faithful supporter Bill S,  regarding the fact that I occasionally post the cost of living in the Philippines on this website, prompted me to include this breakdown of our electrical charges. Electric costs in Iloilo

       

TOTAL COST: 38, 673 PESOS, 900 US Dollars a year.

AVERAGE COST PER MONTH: 3, 222 PESOS, 75 US Dollars

Out total costs for a year in Guimaras, using a similar time frame, is as follows:

TOTAL COST: 26,926.20 pesos, 626 US Dollars  a year

AVERAGE COST PER MONTH: 2,244 pesos,   52 USD

Looks like when we do move back to Guimaras next year, we'll be saving on our utilities. For the record, we use our Carrier air conditioning unit 8-9 hours in the evening. Some American expats living in the Philippines can get by without using air con. I can't. You could realistically cut your month bill down to P1,000 a month, less than 25 US Dollars,  without it.

We have five people in our home now. Two televisions. Three fans. One microwave. One refrigerator, a Panasonic that is rated as one of the most highly energy efficient models in the Philippines.  A nine-year-old personal computer that's on most of the day. CFL, energy efficient light bulbs are installed in every room. Anyone (asawa included) that leaves the lights on a room is subjected to one of my lectures. Most don't forget to flip the off switch.electro vs. spider-man

(Worse gets to worse, I could always flag down Spidey's nemesis, Electro, and plug into his power grid. Photo source: www.comicvine.com)

Why not move back to Guimaras now? As explained in the post regarding leaving Iloilo, we will not have full access to our retirement funds until late next year. My spouse does not want to start building our new home until December, after the rainy season.

We had a ton of workers sitting around doing nothing when our new CR, Comfort Room, was built at my wife's home in Guimaras after our arrival in July 2009.  Can't do much outside work in the torrential monsoon rains.

My asawa doesn't want to make a move again until the new house is ready. "Tired of moving" is her mantra.  I'm tired of the brownouts and lack of daily water. Guess who's going to win that battle? I'm sure you married guys out there already know.

Update: No brownouts since Sunday. My blood pressure today is 127/77. Checking out some new property in Guimaras next month and coordinating another "Babes & Beer Tour" later next month with The Tom Cat (who is now working on building a two-man shrimp boat. Don't ask. All I can tell you is that he thinks he's a pirate.)

Update: 23 brownouts now. Had one that lasted almost ten hours and just got our power restored this Sunday morning.  Frustrating, to say the least.

42 comments

  1. blood pressure ok…….check
    no recent brownouts…..check
    new property considerations…..check
    next Babes and Beer Tour…WOOOO! HOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I’m living the life, Joe. How much better can life get? 😀 More details on the next Babes & Beer Tour coming up. The Tom Cat and I will be hitting a new location in the mango province of Guimaras. Just have to tear him away from that new shrimp boat he’s building.

  2. This in one thing I have always wandered as to how well I could adjust to life there. With all the brown outs, and water service sporadic at best, but sounds like even you have had enough of it, and I think you are far more patient than me. I would have flipped-out long before now I fear, and I know I have to learn to just go with the flow, but being a spoiled American, I have a hard time doing that at times. I will install a deep well and have a whole house back-up generator, of that I’m sure. Just sounds as though it will be much easier to try and find my own solutions for those kinds of problems rather than to wait and see what happens with the utility company.
    Most big companies here, seem to have taken the attitude more and more that they could care less if a customer is satisfied with their service, cause they know that a single person cant do much to get satisfaction, and they figure if they loose a customer, they don’t care, cause another person will come along and fill that spot as a new customer. They, for the most part, only listen, if a large quantity of people complain, and not an individual. Money is always the bottom line, customer satisfaction fall way down the line it appears to me, and is slipping on a yearly basis.

    Thanks for the cost breakdown Dave, I always like to see costs there. I would love to get an electric bill some day as small as yours, ours for a month, is closer to yours for the year. With all the different types of taxes, distribution delivery charge, electrical supply service charge, wholesale power adjustment charge, state tax, county tax, city tax, meter reading charge, emergency fuel surcharge. Just looked at last months bill, just those extra (BS,,not intended to be used as my initials in this instance) charges, they are $186.23 for the month. Don’t know if you have the BS charges there or not, but kinda doubt you do. This house is only a little over 3 years old, and was built to be energy efficient. Used many low-voltage light fixtures, all others are CFL, geothermal for HVAC and hot water, gas for cooking, foam insulation throughout, and there are only the 2 of us, and our bill is many times what your are for a month, but the power does rarely go off, so at least that part is good.
    Will look foreword to hearing of your adventures when you start making offers to purchase land there. Will you be part of the process, or stay in the background and let your wife do the haggling, then let the owner know a kano purchased it, afterwards. We looked at a property the last time I was there, and I quickly learned that I would need to stay invisible during the process, if we were to get a fair price, as am sure you know.

    1. Well, Bill S, it seems we’re in a part of Iloilo province which is only ten minutes away from a much more reliable electric provider. I have expat friends a jeepney ride away that experience far fewer power outages than we have and have water 24/7. My recommendation to anyone thinking of moving to Iloilo would be DON’T MOVE to the area we are, Pavia and Oton, unless you’re prepared for more brown outs and water only three times a week.

      The Philippines, by some news accounts I have read, has the highest electric power rates in Southeast Asia, having surpassed Japan, and the FOURTH highest in the world. We had a all-electric house in Central Illinois and our electric bill was under $100 a month, even during the winter. But then, our Interstate Commerce Commission, under the Blago administration, saw fit to allow our utility company to raise our rates. Our bill went up to 400 a month during the winter.

      The property we are looking at next month belongs to a British man that we know and his wife. I would advise that your asawa would be the one to negotiate and you stay invisible. Word will eventually get out that there is a foreigner involved but hopefully a price can be fixed before that discovery is made. Another great feature about the property we are looking at is that the title is free and clear. Something you have to make VERY SURE about in the Philippines. I’ll keep you posted on our future endeavors in that area.

    1. I was afraid to take mine, DaveW, when I was posting this picture. Yes, in an alternative universe I would hire an electrician like this. Fat chance of that happening. When we build our new home next year, I advised my asawa that we need to hire a maid. I’m sure we will NOT be employing anyone that looks remotely like the electrician in this post but will likely hire a lola in her late 90’s on oxygen support. 🙄

  3. Dave, this is a little off topic, but I am playing catch up. I wanted to comment on some of what you and Todd were saying. My friends snicker when they invite me to something and I tell them: I will check with my “old lady” they snicker because my “old lady” is 23 and I am 46. I really had a lot to take into consideration before I asked this girl to be my wife and yes, more than one person warned me of gold digging and of course: she just wants to move to the US. Yup I heard that stuff. It doesn’t help matters when my wife looks like she belongs at the top of the list in a Beer & Babes competition and well, I am less than athletic looking. However what I found (like you and many of your readers w/asawa’s) one of the nicest, thoughtful and honest people I have ever met in this young lady. It all made more sense to me after I stayed with her family in Zamboanga and witnessed the kind of people that they are. So I tell people that ask, things are different in other parts of the world, and really in American history (up to ww2) it was more common for a young lady to marry an experienced, stable older man. I am no expert but the last 3 years have been the happiest so far for me and I see my wife driving, working, building her career making her own friends and bettering the lives of her family in Zamboanga, she seems very happy.

    1. Always welcome to go off topic, Lee. I see no problem with the age difference. It’s mainly Westerners that have an issue with it. Guess what? It’s absolutely none of their business. I’m sure you heard a lot of warnings. I heard them, too, before I married my beautiful asawa. My Dad was sure Melinda was going to leave me after she got her “green card.” Of course, she didn’t and gave up a good life in the States to come back to the Philippines where we’re spending our retirement years now.

      Like your wife, my asawa is able to help her family. We do what we can and are happy to do so. It’s readers like you and others that have made these last four years easier. For that, Melinda and I are both very grateful. I have no doubt that your wife is very happy. She’s married to a great guy and is able to assist her family. And as we all know, the family is NUMBER ONE in the Philippines.

      Oh, btw, I could never get away with calling Melinda my “old lady.” She’s 13 years younger than me and is quite handy with a bolo, as regular readers know. 😛

  4. Dave,
    Glad your BP is back to normal. I would be fustrated too with the water and power situation. Thats why we want to make sure we live in an area there with reliable utilities for he most part. The power bill just doesn’t make sense with all the brownouts you are having. We are really getting excited about getting there. 5 more days. We will be going to the airport the night before to stay at a hotel since we have a early morning flight. Our boxes still have not arrived there yet. It’s been 45 days. We went to Chicago last week to get marriage certificate authenticated. They were very helpful and nice. Hopefully we will be able to be there for your next tour. Would love to experience it lol. Take care

    1. Hi PapaDuck, as I mentioned in my remark that I just made to Bill S, certain areas in Iloilo do have more reliable power and even have water on demand. We will make sure to thoroughly check out the area that you’re planning to buy in.

      Five more days? That’s great. Don’t worry about those boxes not arriving yet. Sometimes it took three months for our boxes to make it from the States to the Philippines. Our last shipments, however, were sent via Forex, and the boxes arrived at our doorstep in Guimaras a month later.

      The next tour looks to be scheduled around August 23. Details to follow. Have a safe trip.

  5. Hey Lee,

    Great post!

    You are the lucky one…you didn’t let what others think keep you away from what makes you happy. Your story is so similar to the thousands of others I have seen.

    Let the rest of the guys put up with what they have to put up with…some good, and a lot of it not good….and those of us that have found the Philippines and a great filipina will just keep on smiling.

  6. Dave…I am sure you know that almost any of us living in America would trade places with you RIGHT NOW!

    I lived in Sindangan, Mindanao and the brownouts would drive me crazy sometimes. But honestly, if I could go back right now I would. I would put up with that any day compared to living in America right now.

    Nothing really against America, but I so much love the Philippines that dripping in sweat because I have no air con would be A OK with me right now. I do know the electricity issue probably bothers you more because of your internet business.

    The water issue…now that would be seriously problematic for me. Do you have any well water?

    Hopefully they do get it fixed for you because a city like Ililo should not be suffering from that type of thing so often.

    As far as the Beer and Babes Tour Version 2. I cannot wait. More pics, more words, more everything about that.

    God, you sure have it tough. LOL.

  7. I guess I am blessed living in Tagum City. We have a few brown outs here but most of the time they are on the week end. The electric bill runs under a 1,000 pesos per month. If we had the power usage that you do Dave it would be as high or higher than yours. I have a friend here in town who has a lot of stuff. He had one bill that was 16,000 pesos and another that was 11,000 pesos. That is way more than I could afford.

    We do have water all the time and it is cheap. Still no air con here. Good luck on the move!!!

    1. You are indeed blessed, Gary. Two more brownouts since I posted this article. 21 for the month, thus far. We have friends that run their air con 24/7 and have a P15,000 monthly bill. That is way too much for us to afford, also.

      Looks like the move won’t be until late next year, Gary. But we are looking for property in Guimaras right now. At least Guimaras has a reliable and cheap water supply and we will also have a well dug.

    1. Nope, sorry, Rease, we have to cancel. I left you a message on another post. Problems with our niece April have made it necessary for me to stay close at home. Wish I could go into more details, but have to keep a low profile on the issue right now. We are planning another Babes and Beer Tour in Guimaras next month, however. More details on that coming up. Hope you could make it for that. Again, sorry for the cancellation.

  8. Oh… don’t know if you have these, or if you want them, but here are the hotline numbers for Ileco power outages if you’d like to bypass the middleman:

    Globe 09152818912
    Smart 09212987883
    Landline 3337326

    Bill S, if you still want to meet up when you get here I’m at 09152163019. I know where quite a few places are available where there is more reliable water and power in town. Also flood free areas.

    1. Thanks for the numbers, Rease, I’ll make note of them.

      Btw, it is PapaDuck is going to come to Iloilo to look for a place to live, along with his new asawa, Anne.

  9. Now then, about that battery bank. A newish car battery stores 1 Kw-hr. It’s 12 Vdc, so you need a high performance inverter to convert that to 220 VAC.

    You’ll have to add up the stuff you want to stay on and plan how many batteries in parallel you’ll want. When power is on have it continually top off the batteries.

    This is pretty much what

  10. Holy Brown-Out Batman. Meriam bought a new movie so we just had to watch it. Turned on the TV and started the movie. Then every thing goes black. Yep, brown-out that lasted almost one hour. Well that is life in the Philippines.

  11. Sorry to hear about the difficulties Dave. Hope it gets sorted soon. One day, we may actually meet in person. If the beer and babes tour is a day trip, I may be able to make it.

    Oh, got the names mixed up 🙂 PapaDuck, you can call if you’d like as well. If nothing else, can show you where to get better deals on appliances and such.

    1. Well, we’re trying to work things out, Rease, but it’s been a very stressful situation and is taking a toll on my asawa. Not sure when PapaDuck will be in Iloilo but he’ll be in the Philippines very shortly.

      OK, I see PapaD will be here in August or September. He might miss our August tour but The Tom Cat and I plan to make this a monthly event. The tours will start in the afternoon, Rease, and go into the evening. The Tom Cat will be offering, however, comfortable digs at “The Farm” for anyone wanting to make an overnight stay at a reasonable price.

  12. Hi Rease, sounds like it was PapaDuck and not me.

    We are still working on an exit strategy for leaving the states one day, but not planning on moving there until 2017 or 2018. We are planning on Mindanao though, probably Davao or surrounding area of it, and will most likely wait to buy land after we get there, unless a relative decides to sell some of theirs, then we might go on and buy,,,,possibly.

    1. 2017 might seem like a long ways off, Bill S, but I’m sure the time will pass by quickly. We’ve been in the Philippines four years already and the years have been whizzing by. Of course, I’m sure that “whizzing” is accelerated by the fact I’m in retirement mode and living in paradise.

  13. Small world Bill S. I recently bought property in Koronadal, South Cotabato, Mindanao. My wife and I will be living in Iloilo for about four years, then we’re moving down that way to build. We have family on both islands. Did same strategy, waited until there was a good deal on props, then bought.

    1. You’re welcome, PapaDuck. We appreciate all of the help you’ve given us. Even if you don’t make it to the August “Babes & Beer Tour,” The Tom Cat and I are planning to do a tour each month. Hope to catch you in September if you don’t make it to the August event.

  14. Actually I was suggesting the battery approach for now to deal with your blackouts.

    Gotta be a car junkyard around with batteries they’d like to get rid of for free. The rest is pretty straightforward. It’s analogous to having a Uninterruptable Power Supply for your computer. They are just a big battery with an inverter to make the voltage correct.

    If you’re moving in 3 months, maybe it doesn’t make sense. Depends on if you have time on your hands to take some action to get rid of the brownouts.

    1. OK, Owen, I misunderstood, sorry. Car junkyards? In over 4 years of living in the Philippines, I’ve not seen a one. Back in Central Illinois, where I’m from, they were as common as sofas on the front porch.

      I will keep this tip in mind and appreciate the info. I wish we were moving in three months, but it looks like we’ll have to wait until late next year.

  15. Oh,hell. I just went back thru the comments and I saw “gotta stay close to home” because of the niece comment, so you have bigger fish to fry than battery power. I didn’t see that until just now. The battery stuff can wait.

    1. No problem, Owen. The situation with my niece is causing my wife countless sleepless nights and extreme stress. I can say that April spent almost a week in the hospital but has now been released. Our niece has made the decision to stay with another family, and in fact, that family is our neighbor. She believes she is in love with our neighbor’s son. That’s all I can say for now lest I incur the wrath of my bolo-wielding asawa.

  16. Yeah Dave, as you get older times sure seems to go by faster, than when I was kid, a year back them seemed to last so much longer than they do nowadays.

    I’m 55 now, and hope to be there by the time I make 60, God willing. But am hoping the real-estate market here recovers before then, as that’s where my retirement money is for the most part, but was really figuring long before now the economy would have recovered much more than it has so far. It is better than 2008, that’s for sure but still has a way to go yet. Also have a small business to sell, or to liquidate, whichever I can do.

    So will keep trying to learn as much as I can about living there, and hoping it will make our transaction smoother when the time comes.

    1. Yep, time did move slower when I was a kid, Bill S, especially around Christmas time.

      It seems that the economy and the housing market has improved somewhat. We were fortunate to sell our home and make a profit on it back in May 2009 before everything crashed. Fortunately our IRA has been growing quite nicely thanks to our extremely competent financial planner.

      You’re smart to start planning so early. I hope you’ll be able to make the move in five years but advise anyone to make sure you have all your ducks in a row before you do move. I’m reviewing the pro’s and con’s of the T72 account we have used to finance our retirement these past four years. One more year to go on that before we can access our funds without incurring an extra 10 percent tax penalty from Uncle Sam. We’ve been locked into the same monthly allotment every month and we have not used one ounce of credit since we moved here. I can assure you, that would have been very difficult to do if we had stayed in the States.

    1. Well, Owen, April’s sister, Michelle, has just begun corresponding with a young American military man. He has plans to be a bio medical engineer and comes from Central Illinois, my old stomping grounds. Melinda and I highly approve of this young man. He comes from a good family. Of course, we don’t care if the young man is rich, his moral character is the most important factor for us.

      As far as marrying rich goes, the guy that April is involved with comes from a well-off family. The young man plans to go to Lebanon to work. The manner in which this arrangement came about is very disturbing for us. We have spoken to the young man and his father. We’re hopeful things work out.

    1. Good to hear from you, Ralph. No, The Tom Cat has recruited his G/F’s father. It’s only a two man shrimp boat and I can’t even swim. I don’t think he would want me as the 1st mate.

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