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Brownouts are back — a “dry run” for the coming elections?

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The frequent brownouts in Metro Manila and surrounding provinces have led to speculations that this is a “dry run” of sorts for the upcoming May elections. One cannot help but suspect this scenario because next month’s elections will be the first time in history that COMELEC will use a computerized system of collecting and counting votes.

Below are more details of the recent power failures…

Brownouts back in oven-hot Metro, Luzón

As if the sizzling summer were not enough, rotating brownouts are back in Metro Manila and Luzón, shutting down air-conditioners and electric fans that help people cope with the heat.

Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), the country’s biggest power distributor, said all cities and towns in its franchise area were affected by the outages Wednesday as a result of the huge power supply deficit in the Luzón grid.

In Metro Manila, traffic in certain areas like the South Expressway at the Pásay Road, Buendía and Vito Cruz intersections were particularly heavy. The traffic lights went dead.

Policemen had to direct the traffic to keep the vehicles flowing.

Meralco said it implemented two-hour rotating brownouts between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. and between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. in the whole of Metro Manila and in the provinces of Batangas, Bulacán, Cavite, Laguna, Pampanga, Quezon and Rizal.

The power supply deficiency in the Luzón grid reached 662 megawatts (MW), bigger than Mindanáo’s deficit of 538 MW as of Wednesday afternoon, according to National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP).

Metro Manila and other parts of Luzón may continue to experience one- to two-hour rotating brownouts on Thursday as several power facilities are not operating.

Acting Energy Secretary José Ibazeta said the power situation would normalize in Luzón by “next week or so.”


2 responses »

  1. I read with interest the ongoing speculation regarding current brownouts in the Philippines, linked to a political conspiracy that will culminate in a massive loss of power to disrupt polling on May 10th.
    I believe that those who propose such an elaborate plot:
    1. Have little understanding of the nature of power production/distribution.
    There are not a series of switches, in a centralized location, in which evildoers can selectively choose which cities to brownout. Remember!! Without this capability, evildoers could only brown out large segments of a region, thus affecting their own power in the process.
    Power distribution is on a grid, or network. For someone to attack it successfully, and bring an entire region down would take the coordinated efforts of hundreds of evildoers. This would be detected, and the threat eliminated, long before the first lightbulb turns off.
    2. Have little understanding of the difficulty of one political party imposing their will, onto an industry of professionals, made up of all political parties, in a manor that would remain undetected. Impossible!
    How would I (evildoer supporting party X) invoke such a massive conspiracy, without my workmates (representing all parties) taking some notice? Now multiply me, by the hundreds of workmates (all associated with party X only) necessary to actually pull of this conspiracy, and it may be a bit clearer.
    Let me answer this, incase the enormity of this conspiracy theory isn’t yet striking home…..It really can’t be done.
    3. Have their own political agenda for repeating this idea.
    This is the most likely scenario i can think of for this rumor. Those opposing existing rule, in any country, will use this tactic when they find themselves behind in the polls. Make up a story of a vote rigging conspiracy. Its hard to prove one way or the other, and the less informed of the constituency will tend to follow whatever they’re leaders say.
    And typically, the added benefit for those who start such rumors is that it is a convenient way to justify their own failures in the political arena (“We won’t win because our opponents have hatched this great conspiracy to rig the elections via power failure”), and if there are actually brownouts happening at the time due to the normal reasons (transmission line failure/repair, or generating capacity offline) it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy.
    Don’t fall for any of this rubbish my Philippino friends!! It is only a distraction from what you all should be concentrating on……… on the issues and for your candidate. They are trying to heard you like sheep. Don’t be a follower in this case. Find another reason to be disillusioned, there must be many.
    Greg Hundtoft


  2. since rainy days are back ang typhoon season is near, expect brownouts during this season, it is better to be prepared than sorry, just make sure you have one lighter in your disaster kit in case of brownouts. (I suggest zippo windproof series lighter)



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