GUIMELCO Blames Geckos for Guimaras Brownouts

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.guimelco

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.)

8 comments

  1. Hi dave
    We had the same daily problem my entire first year 2013…then yolanda came, they had to replace everything…no more brownouts except maintance.

    1. Ron, we’ve been here for seven years now but this is the first time I’ve heard about the problem with the geckos. We did have a rat burn out a transformer, however, at our former residence.

      Glad to hear everything is up and running now over there but it came at quite a cost, Yolanda. Take care.

  2. We had the same problem of blackouts last time I was in Davao. For about the last 1 1/2 months before I came back home, we had them almost daily, sometimes 2 a day, but I heard they got much longer after I left there. Right after the election, they suddenly completely stopped, so no idea what the reason for them might have been in the first place.

    We bought a small little generator after the 3rd one, and it helped a lot. It was a very high quality generator I know, cause it came with a full 27 day warranty.

    It let us run the refrigerator,tv, wifi, couple of fans and lights, and thats all we really needed, the hardest part was attempting to find a heavy duty extension cord with a multi-plug on it, all I could find was the light duty lamp cords so finally ended up making my own. I am sending lots of extension cords and 2 generators with me when we move this year. Until I start looking for specific things I dont realize that so many things cant be found there, but once I move there am sure I will be wishing I had sent a lot more things in the containers.

    1. I’ve read where Davao was having quite a problem with brownouts, Bill S. With Duterte in power now (pun intended) I would guess the situation will drastically improve there.

      We’ve considered a generator and are even considering solar power. More on the solar power will be forthcoming. Our new home is wired for a generator but we’re presently holding off on purchasing one as we might even eventually go “off the grid” with solar.

      As I’ve written before, I wish I would have packed a lot more balikbayan boxes from the States before we moved, especially a lot of my tools.

      1. Solar would be nice, but it also has MANY unforeseen problems, that you wont discover til you actually try it, and without backup for it, your screwed. For a temporary backup when the power goes off,,,possibly. To cut the cable and go off-grid, for me,,, no way, especially depending on the crappy quality Chinese made panels available there, not to even mention the inverters, splitters etc. There is a very good reason that some panels cost $150.00 per panel and other cost $450.00 per panel or far more. I suggest you look into it extensively before you invest a lot into it, and also if your insurance company will cover it when they get damaged and if they do, what circumstances will they cover and not cover.

        1. We’ve only looked at one solar company that recently opened an office in nearby Iloilo SM City, Bill S. We’ve only received an initial quote from the company and haven’t put any money down. I will be posting on what the company has to offer shortly.

  3. I guess it’s it’s no worse than having a roach set off a smoke detector in the jail i worked at lol. Very hot and humid in Fla now. Heading back to Ohio Tuesday to the cooler weather. Can’t believe the Provential Man is still on. Seems like its been on forever.

    1. Hi, Randy. Things are cooling off here. Lots of rain.

      Yep, that show is STILL running. It was supposed to end in July after getting extended last year. Hard to say how long it will be on yet. It’s the only Filipino show I watch. Most of the Filipino shows I see advertised are boring teleseryes, soap operas, that usually have some young girl and guy in love. Thankfully, Melinda doesn’t watch those. 🙂

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