I had to chuckle in disbelief when a fellow American expat informed me that GUIMELCO blames geckos for Guimaras brownouts. We’ve had a rash of almost daily, unscheduled outages the past two months. Those geckos must be pretty smart. The tuko are usually hitting us at the same time every night, just before 8:00 pm.
Now there’s really not any good time for a power outage in the Philippines or anywhere else for that matter. My sister-in-law Marjorie informs me that in Kuwait, where she has worked as a domestic helper for the past six years, only has two brownouts, blackouts, a YEAR!
So when our brownouts, which have been occurring for at least the past two months, starting interrupting our power service right before my asawa’s favorite Filipino program begins, the popular “Ang Probinsyano”, “The Provincial Man,” my Sainted Patient Wife, even began echoing my complaints about the frequent outages.
But a recent article in Iloilo’s Daily Guardian, verifies what my fellow American on our island related to me.
Mayrou Espiña, General Manager of Guimaras Electric Cooperative (GUIMELCO), said power interruptions in the island have become frequent recently due to geckos, tuko.
Espiña said four brownout incidents were caused by geckos or tuko as most lines are near trees or bamboos.
Guimelco installed anti-gecko devices in 44 electric poles to address the problem.
“The device raises the insulators so geckos and other reptiles like snake or bats won’t stick to the insulators and trip the line,” the GUIMELCO GM reported.
Guimelco got the idea on the anti-gecko device from other electric coops that experienced the same problem.
Espiña also remarked that bad weather is another cause of unscheduled brownouts in Guimaras. Storms with high winds and heavy rains bring down branches of trees and bamboos
GUIMELCO does trims trees near poles or lines. When we lived on “The Farm,” our five hectare paradise on our island province, crews from our utility company would clear the massive bamboo that hovered near our electric lines over our main gate.
However, Espiña rightly points out that “Guimaras has many trees and by the time we are finished clearing on the southern part of the island, the trees are growing again on the other side.”
GUIMELCO’s General Manager encourages customers to report any power outages as soon as possible as it takes time to locate the cause of the brownout if it’s not reported.
I sincerely doubt that geckos or causing power outages in Guimaras at almost the exact time. It seems toocoincidental that so many brownouts are occurring around 8 pm. Do the tukos on our island province have a grudge against Coco Martin, the action star of “Ang Probinsyano”? One has to wonder.
The unscheduled brownouts usually last an hour or two in our region of Guimaras.
In defense of our utility company, GUIMARAS has been informing its customers of scheduled brownouts. We now receive text and email messages when any scheduled outage occurs at least two or three days ahead of the event.
OLD POWER LINES
Our local provincial board has asked GUIMELCO to explain the frequent power interruptions.
Guimaras Governor Samuel Gumarin has determined that based on talks with previous general managers and technical experts, there is a serious problems with very old distribution lines.
“There’s a failure on the part of Guimelco to fix or upgrade their lines,” Gumarin stressed.
Some of the lines are as old as the electric coop itself, which was created in 1979.
The Governor also states that “The number of consumers are increasing, so, one of the considerations is the upgrading of distribution lines to cater to these growing number of consumers.”
Let’s hope with the government’s help, GUIMELCO will upgrade it’s existing service to all residents of Guimaras. Along with the geckos, the natives are getting restless. Further interruptions of “Ang Probinsyano” will only aggravate this ongoing problem. (And yes, we have experienced two more unscheduled brownouts in the past two days but since my wife’s favorite program is not carried on the weekends, she was not too upset.)