15 Brownouts in 3 Days: GUIMELCO’S Response

“15 Brownouts in 3 days: GUIMELCO’S Response.” It’s a post I hope to complete before our next power outage in Guimaras occurs.  As I feverishly attack the keyboard, somewhat under my high school typing speed of 51 wpm, I glance outside. More threatening storm clouds hover in the distance.

Will I be able to post a response I received from our local power company’s top management in time? I’ll try. Here’s the reply I received on the GUIMELCO.

Good day.

We apologize for the delayed reply. The following is the official statement from the our top management:

GUIMELCO Official Statement

[“We thank you for sending us your comment on the issue about unscheduled brownouts in the Province of Guimaras.

On the article in The Daily Guardian which states that the gecko, (tuko) is causing all our brownouts, we would like to point out that there are several causes of brownouts and the gecko is just one of them. Maybe it was just highlighted because many do not believe that a gecko can actually cause power interruptions/brownouts.

For your reference we have attached a Summary of Power Interruptions.

Certain measures have already been undertaken such as installation of PVC pipes to minimize/prevent the occurrence of brownouts caused by gecko. Clearing activities are also ongoing for medium to heavy vegetation along our distribution lines but sometimes we do encounter problems when the owners of the trees that are supposed to be cut or trimmed would not allow our clearing crew.

Last June 18, 2016 and June 25, 2016 we had this “Bayanihan Activity” where our employees performed the installation of PVC pipes in our distribution system and clearing of lines without overtime pay or salary on those particular days. We only provided a meager meal allowance for them.

We understand the predicaments of our member-consumers because that is why we at GUIMELCO are exhausting possible means to address power interruptions because aside from being employees of GUIMELCO we are also member-consumers who experience the inconvenience that power interruptions bring.

Once again thank you for bringing the above mentioned concern to our attention.”]

We also send a document through email that contains the brownout causes. Once again, we apologize for the inconvenience. Rest assured, GUIMELCO is doing everything to make the power service stable. If you have other concern, please call us at 581-2919. Thank you.

GUIMELCO Web AdminGUIMELCO website

(Photo Source: GUIMELCO website)

I replied on the utility’s website :

“Thank you for the information. Since I wrote that comment two days ago we’ve had more than 12 brownouts in our section of Sibunag, Guimaras. Our last outage lasted started at 1 am this Saturday morning and ended around 7:45 am.

While I appreciate the document that was sent, it does not cover the reasons for all of the brownouts we have had the past few days.

But I respectfully thank you for your detailed reply and would pray that the power situation in Guimaras will improve. I will note your response in a future post on my website.”

In my reply, I also mentioned we were exploring the possibilities of an alternative energy source such as solar power.

Again, I, do, however, sincerely appreciate the utility’s efforts to appease a frustrated American expat in the Philippines.

However, if I may borrow from the late Rod Serling:

“There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call… the GUIMELCO Zone.”

I would not be quite as upset as I was the other day if we would have only experienced the power outages in Guimaras that are shown below.

The chart given to me by GUIMELCO management began in April, 2016. I will only publish the results from between July 4th and the early morning of July 8th.

Again, during that time, we experienced at least 15 brownouts in our part of Guimaras, some lasting up to six hours.

The information provided to me only shows six power outages for the whole of Guimaras for the above mentioned time frame.

 

GUIMELCO power outages

None of the above power outages were attributed to geckos.

We did receive some heavy rains and a few thunderstorms but no damaging winds in our particular area. That said, whenever we have any rain, we rush to grab our flashlights and our solar light bulb. We know by experience that a brownout is impending.

I made three calls to the GUIMELCO hotline. In one of the calls I was informed that work crews in our part of the island were having difficulty in restoring our power. I advised the utility employee that perhaps they should employee some workers who knew what they were doing.

We saw work crews out at 6:30 am this past Friday as we headed to Jordan Wharf to catch a pump boat to Iloilo. Upon our return later that day, we already had three power outages and still were without electricity.

We’re hopeful to hear from our new solar power contact in Iloilo soon. We’re off to Metro Manila in a few days, however, and probably will have to wait to hear if solar energy will be feasible for us.

We’ve actually enjoyed a whole morning thus far, this Sunday, without any brownouts. Hopefully that trend will continue.

18 comments

  1. Cheap generator Dave, we bought one early on and have never regretted it. Reasons? 1) Really not that expensive and are easy to set up and use. 2) You open by saying its cloudy…uh, tough to recharge batteries heh heh. 3)Murphys law, one you get it, you wont have any outages. (we, thankfully have had to use our generator once).

    I am just very dubious about the initial outlay vs. the return on investment. But that’s just me.

    Good luck.

    1. Yep, we could purchase a generator, Scott H, but as I remarked to Lance in a previous comment, I don’t want to bother with having purchase to fuel all the time. I seriously doubt that we will never have any more outages if we did purchase a generator, though our home is wired for one.

      We got a visit from our solar tech yesterday and received a quote 70,000 pesos cheaper than what we got from Solar Living in Iloilo. Yes, we’re in the rainy season but we still should have enough sunshine to power the batteries.

      Frankly, I’m no tree hugger and think the whole climate change issue is something cooked up by liberal scientists trying to get more government funding. The fact that solar power is a renewable energy source really doesn’t factor in our decision to go solar.

  2. I agree totally with Scott.

    Thats exactly what we did when I was there in Jan. for 3 months, as soon as the 3rd one started I said lets go buy a generator, its a cheap one, but it gave us the power we needed to keep cooler, have cold drinks , lights and entertainment.

    Rather than wait for months to see if you may or may not get into solar power, why not have power, when the power goes off, especially when its happening that often.

    Either hook it into your gen. panel or just use some extension cords. Beats the Hell out of sitting in the dark, and no way to keep cool, in my opinion anyway.

    1. Well, Bill S, as I mentioned in some earlier comments, we definitely are going solar. With a quote 70,000 pesos cheaper than the previous company we contacted, we’re convinced that’s what we plan to do. Received a visit from Mr. Bernard in Iloilo, a very knowledgeable gentleman from Holland, and though he advised us not not go off the grid, we’re following through on our solar plans as an alternate energy source.

      I know quite a few people on our island who do use a generator. They are quite convenient and relatively inexpensive. But with a total solar package, including installation, costing around 2,700 US Dollars, again, we are going with solar over a generator.

      1. 1000watts is not much power, no where near enough to even operate a toaster, but then I guess you are not using it for toast. We have a 20,000 watt whole house generator for our house that runs off of propane, here in Va. Fortunately power does not go off here very often, but when it has it lasted for 2-3 days. It is large enough to power the 16 most used things that I put in the generator panel, but even with 20,000 watts we have to watch and make sure that, not everything is on all at once or it trips the main breaker.

        Granted, you are not spending all that much, but batteries will have to be replaced, and inverters burn out, and can be burnt out just by getting a lightning strike somewhere in the proxemity of where it is located.

        Will be interesting to read your review of it after you have it for 3 years or so though. Will also be interesting to see how they handle panels that are “warranted for 30 years”. My guess is that if its generating a milli-amp of power they will say its working just fine in there opinion.

        I hope you will be able to tell me,,, I told you it would work as expected. Best of luck with it.

        1. Bil S, as I noted to Ron, after I opened my email to get our quote from the solar company, the price has now jumped about a $1,000 US. We’re going with a generator, instead, as suggested by other readers including yourself.

          We really don’t get enough power outages to justify purchasing a solar energy system and would have stayed on the grid anyway. The solar company that we originally went to at SM City called my wife yesterday. It took them over a month to respond to our initial request to visit us. My asawa told them we had already contacted another company.

          One brief 20-minute brownout last night. Probably just another frickin’gecko. 🙂

  3. Dave,

    It seems like they don’t have a clue what’s causing them. Working for a week w/o pay or ot, only for a meager food allowance. Only in the Philippines. It sounds like a good time for you guys to go to Manila.

    1. It is extremely frustrating, Papa Duck. Yesterday, Sunday, was the first day we did not one single brownout in weeks. I’m hopeful that GUIMELCO has figured out what the problem was in our area.

  4. Kano,
    Are you going to take the fellows advice and stay on the grid? Or are going off grid? If you stay on the grid and there is a power outage you will be without power even if your system is functioning.

    1. Hi, Stan. Thanks for your input. I’ve stated in several comments that I have no intention on going off the grid. The solar tech who stopped by last Sunday also advised me to stay on the grid, too.

  5. DAVE

    I would like to caution you, I have 2 engineer friends here in Roxas, both with homes your size, both solorized, sure cost alot more than $2700.

    1. Thanks, Ron. Though I could purchase a larger system to power the whole house, we are only buying a 1,000 WAT package. This package will power a fan, lights, our tv and refrigerator for a period of at least 22 hours without needing to be recharged. This company only uses the best Class A solar panels which are guaranteed to last at least 30 years. I know of other expats who have used this company’s services and have heard no bad reports.

      We really only plan to use the solar power as an alternative power source when we have a brownout.

        1. Morning Ron,
          Sorry for the late response. Just got back from our trip to Manila. I don’t use the Internet when I’m traveling in the Philippines.

          Well, Ron, looks like your original comment about the cost was correct. When we got back home I had another quote from the solar company we were considering. Now the cost is 1,000 US Dollars more than our original estimate. We’re passing on solar for now. If need be, we will just get a generator as mentioned by other readers since the new house is already wired for that. Take care.

  6. Good day.Your typing speed is excellent!I learned in the militia,you know,”Tracer,7.62-51,crates,five…”.I never got beyond 20wpm.Regarding brownouts,I’ve heard the gecko theory many times.I think it’s true.Filipino geckos are smart,and dangerous,just like the gremlin in the Twilight Zone episode.Anyone remember the name of that episode? Joe.

    1. Joe, I was a young kid in grade school when I saw that Twilight Zone episode with Bill Shatner. We were watching the tv over at my Grandma and Grandpa’s house. I was scared to death on the short drive home from Grandma’s house and had an extremely hard time getting to sleep that night.

    1. Thanks, Art. As I remarked to Joe, that episode scared the living crap out of me when I was a kid. Rod Serling, along with Alfred Hitchcock, were masters of fright without using any excessive blood or gore.

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