aaron2

AWAN CURRIENTE!

NEW articles daily! Subscribe below to receive daily updates with our new articles!

Please enter your name.
Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.

There are many things we take for granted. Sunrise, sunset, pleasant breezes, gentle rains, … the list is endless. Among them, however, are some “creature comforts” that we don’t think about until they go missing.

This past “Holloween” (October 31), we in Pasuquin and other cities and towns in Ilocos Norte were visited by “Mother Nature” dressed up in costume. She came to “Trick-or-Treat” as a typhoon. She called herself, “KROSA (Vinta)” and demanded much.

Tagalog Buddy

Everyone gave what they could: tree limbs and leaves, rice in the fields awaiting harvest, small rooftops, and anything that was loose or not anchored down. Still, Krosa wanted more.

WHAT A TREAT

As if pitching in as a community, we all satisfied Krosa’s desires by giving her one of our prized possessions — our electricity.

Some, it appears gave little. We, in Barangay Nagsanga and surrounding barangays, gave a bit more. KROSA took this treat at 8:00 PM, then proceeded to wreak her tricks on us overnight. All was dark and stormy until sunrise.

The capital city of Ilocos Norte, Laoag, gave little. By 8:30 AM the next morning, everyone there was once again enjoying their electrically driven conveniences. The rest of us waited patiently for our turn.

By Friday evening, the municipality of Pasuquin was alight with power. Those of us still waiting could see their lights reflecting from the clouds above. We knew that our “curriente” was just moments away from reappearing at our outlets.

HEY, IT’S DAY 2 – SATURDAY

The dawning of a new day meant nothing more than natural lighting for us. We heard reports via the “bamboo grapevine” that workers from the Ilocos Norte Electricity Cooperative (INEC) were busily reconnecting customers, area by area.

Now, we were getting concerned. Customers to the south of us and customers to our north were now enjoying those things we take for granted. They had power to watch T.V. or listen to radios, power to run refrigerators and air conditioners, power for water pumps, and for the least of their conveniences.

Where was our power? Foodstuffs in our refrigerators were in jeopardy. The freezing temperatures within those appliances were no more. The convenience of frozen foods and refrigerated foods that we took for granted daily was no more. Did we treat KRosa too well?

THE BIG COOK-OFF

Everyone in the barangay was faced with the same problem, and everyone knew what had to be done. Gas and wood-burning stoves were srarted up, pots and pans prepared, and the parade of food from the now useless refrigerators to the ready stoves began.

It was to be a Saturday night cook-off. Everything had to be cooked, less it spoil. Of course, there wasn’t any similar rescue for things like condiments, dairy products, and the like, which faithfully await their call in the now warm darkness of the dead appliance. These would be hurriedly consumed or disposed.

Normally, whenever this much cooking occurs, those behind the stove are eager to share the freshly cooked bounty with family and friends. This time, with everyone following suit, all had surplus to give away, but no takers. It was to be a barangay-wide, Saturday Night Feast.

We all went into our third dark night with bellies full and excessive left-overs neatly wrapped up for later. At our house, I know that Baket ko (Asawa ko) [my Wife] did a week’s worth of cooking. I’m sure that the same can be said for other, surrounding households. The neighborhood certainly had a wonderful aroma about it.

SUNDAY? NO DIFFERENCE SO FAR

Churchgoers from our neighborhood dedicated prayers for the electricians and the safe return of power to our hamlet. Non-churchgoers muttered muted curses against the co-op, wondering why we, in Nagsanga, seemed to be the last ones served when these brown outs occur.

Prayers appeared unanswered. Curses – well, any result on that front remain to be seen. Official word from INEC was that “line slicing” was ongoing, and that they were working as fast as they safely could.

They were safe, all right! I didn’t see a single crew or repairman working on lines between the municipality that was awash with curriente and our now parched barangay. My normally happy demeanor was starting to turn sour. Something was just not right.

On the drive home from Church, I asked Emy to go slowly. I wanted to see if I could spot any problems. I believe I did. Between the municipality and the barangay, I saw at least two power transformers on power poles that were not connected to the high voltage lines.

A LESSON IN ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION

These transformers feed the 220 VAC service lines that distribute electrical power to a set number of consumers. The high voltage inputs for these transformers are connected to the high voltage lines via a large, manual circuit breakers. The breakers for the transformers that I spotted were hanging open.

Open breakers mean no high voltage being supplied to the transformers. Without the high voltage input, the transformers can’t “step down” the voltage to 220 VAC. With no 220 VAC available at the transformers’ outputs, no curriente can flow to the consumers. It’s called “Brown Out”!

This scenario has happened before. Five years ago, after a rather nasty super typhoon, we went seven days without power. The last three of those days occurred because our little barangay was forgotten. INEC thought the entire grid was functioning. Three days of angry telephone calls proved otherwise.

It’s Sunday afternoon, now, and I don’t know when I’ll be able to submit this article. MindanaoBob usually puts these articles up for publishing on Sunday mornings, and you, dear readers, get to see my ramblings the very next Tuesday. I’m definitely late with this one.

I’m pounding this one out on the only battery-operated device that still has some charge left in it. Every other “convenience” in our household that uses rechargeable batteries is in “Lo-Batt” shock. Hopefully, refreshing curriente is but moments away for them.

MORAL OF THE STORY

No matter how good the electrical service is in your area, it pays to have back-up. This week, I’ll be shopping for a diesel generator, and arranging for electrical wiring changes to our house. I won’t be caught flat-footed again in five years!

(Lo-Batt alarm on this device. Time to save documents, power down, and wait for the curriente.)

Posted in

PaulK

Paul is a CPA and a retired tax accountant, having served companies and corporations of all sizes, as well as individuals, in public accounting practices. Prior to what he refers to as his "real job," he served a 24-year career in the U.S. Navy, retiring as a Master Chief Petty Officer. It was during this career that he met and married his OFW spouse of 40+ years, Emy, while stationed in London, UK. (Though he pleaded for the assignment, Paul never received orders to the Philippines.) A "Phil-phile" from an early age, Paul remembers his first introduction to the Philippines in the primary grades of a parochial elementary school where, one week each year, children donated their pennies to purchase school supplies, food and other necessities for Filipino children in need. That love for Filipinos continues to this day. Calling Pasuquin, Ilocos Norte--in the far northwestern part of Luzon--home (just about as far away from Davao as one can be while still being on one of the major islands) Paul prefers a more relaxed provincial life style, and willingly shares a different view of the Philippines from "up north"!

Most Shared Posts

34
Leave a Reply

avatar
12 Comment threads
22 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
11 Comment authors
John ReyesMike K.PalawanBobBill S.PapaDuck Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

Paul;
A simple generator running for 12 hours a day (Or longer if you still have fuel) will run 3 ref’s a freezer, all lights and TV’s and one A/C all at once for as many days as you keep it gassed up. I’m good for five days and then I hit the cars tank. I’ve had mine for over 15 years and will replace it if it ever went south..

Paul
Guest

Hi Paul – Went “window shopping” at the hardware store yesterday. Sticker shock has tempered my ill-advised eagerness to “jump in the deep end” as quickly as possible. Saw some units with P100K tags on them. Don’t need that much power. I’ll keep looking for a good deal, though. I’m sure a good deal will be found once we get a little time between the brown out and the sales day. πŸ˜‰

Derek Allen
Guest

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU BUY A GENERATOR IN THE PHILIPPINES QUALITY IS A VITAL FACTOR Don’t buy a cheap Chinese make unless you like shopping for generators. PM6100D ES; Diesel Gen / Engine No 186FA I recommend Powermate made in USA I have had my 6KW Gen for five years it’s been great the diesel version is a lot safer in hot climates such as the Philippines because the flash point of diesel fuel is 260C you can put a cigarette out in diesel fuel it will not ignite. I am not anyway connected to this company just in… Read more »

Paul
Guest

Yeow! That certainly is a lot to take into consideration, Derek. All of it is extremely valid, too.

It’s no wonder that I’ve procrastinated with purchasing a generator! If the saying, “Procrastination is the key to flexibility,” is true, then I’ve been a pretty flexible person and may just “flex” a little while longer! πŸ˜€

I’ll print your comment out and take it with me while “window shopping” so that I can make a half-way informed decision (if it comes to one being made – flexibility, you know!)

Miss August
Guest
Miss August

Hi Paul T. Would you mind sharing what kind of portable generator and model you use? I think I’ve read somewhere you use a Honda but I can’t remember. PaulK, I’m planning to purchase a portable generator for my house in Cabanatuan City. I was there during Thypoon Santi and we didn’t have power for almost two weeks. Fortunately for me, my flight back to Vegas was on Oct 15th so I only have to deal with not having electricity for a couple of days. But, I don’t ever want to have to experience that again, not having access to… Read more »

Paul
Guest

Hi Miss August – Long time no see! Yes, even a one day brown out is enough to start a person thinking about a generator. Thanks for the link. Before taking the l-o-n-g ride to Pampanga, I’ll check out resources here, up north. Some pretty good buys are available, or so I’m told by a few other expats living up here.

Paul Thompson
Guest
Paul Thompson

Miss August;
Mine is now 15 years old, a Honda (Gas) CX 1100, which they don’t make anymore. But as long as the brand you buy can be serviced in country most are good. My Honda has never failed to start except a couple of months ago when I broke the starting rope, 100 pesos and it was back online. So 15 years without a problem I guess if I ever have to replace it, I’ll buy another Honda.

Cordillera Cowboy
Guest

Hi Paul,
You might want to jump on some type of small generator for the meantime. My typhoon tracker shows that haiyan hasn’t hit yet. According to this, what knocked out your power was “tropical storm thirty”. http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/

Hears a weather.com article on haiyan: http://www.weather.com/news/weather-hurricanes/tropical-storm-typhoon-haiyan-threatens-manila-philippines-20131104

It looks big enough to cover the Visayas and Luzon at the same time. We’ll be in touch with our folks to see how the new tin roof on our little Native house held up.

Take care,
Pete

Paul
Guest

Hi Pete – I thought we were under the spell of TS 29W (Typhoon KROSA [Vinta]). Believe “30W” was a Tropical Depression that came through the Visayas and headed west to Vietnam. Now, Tropical Storm HAIYAN (TS 31W) is headed for the Visayas and southern Luzon, but could still go anywhere.

We keep track of the storms via http://typhoon2000.ph/ which provides latest updates plus links to weather agencies of other countries that track Pacific storms.

Hope your roof is still serving its primary function! πŸ˜†

Cordillera Cowboy
Guest

Thanks for that link Paul. I’ll add it to the ones I watch. I figure with typhoons, if you know it’s coming, you can batten down and wait it out. The regular rain, like the heat, is just the price of admission. I’ll take it.

Take care,
Pete

Paul
Guest

It’s a good one to watch, Pete. HAIYAN is turning into a super typhoon (Phil name YOLANDA), and it’s staring at Cebu. Hope all there get ready for a pounding!

John Reyes
Guest

“On the drive home from Church, I asked Emy to go slowly. I wanted to see if I could spot any problems. I believe I did. Between the municipality and the barangay, I saw at least two power transformers on power poles that were not connected to the high voltage lines.” – the sage of Pasuquin Good grief, Paul, you missed an opportunity here to be a hero during those dark hours of discontent. πŸ™‚ You could have asked Mrs. Keating to pull over when you saw those breakers yawing open and took matters in your own hands right then… Read more »

Paul
Guest

Hi John – Well, I was a hero of sorts for the rest of Sunday afternoon and evening. Having had enough of it all, I texted a niece who is a VIP with the co-op, told her the breakers were open, no work crews were to be seen, and we were still without power. She passed word to the service supervisor. A work crew was out in about 2 hours (they needed time to come in, assemble, and drive the truck up from the capital), resetting all of the open breakers and restoring power to the community. Word somehow got… Read more »

John Reyes
Guest

“All was dark and stormy until sunrise.” Good sleeping weather, if you ask me, Paul. In the month of May in 2000, I was in Salaza (Palaug, Zambales) when typhoon Biring hit Luzon. It was a torrential downpour for 9 straight days beginning on the eve of Salaza’s fiesta. I don’t know about others, but I will take rainy days over sunny days anytime in Salaza. During those stormy days in the barrio, I watched the heavy rain from my perch on the verandah turn my Mom’s backyard full of fruit trees and orchids into a picture of a lush… Read more »

Paul
Guest

Well, John, the rain on the roof wasn’t the steady, symphonic type, but a driven in sheets with occasional rocks thrown in kind! Plenty to keep one awake all night wondering how much change would be seen when light finally came! πŸ˜€

PapaDuck
Guest
PapaDuck

Paul,
Glad everything turned out ok except for the electricity. Hopefully the next one hitting the Visayas will be it for the season.

Paul
Guest

Hi PD – Everything – including electricity – turned out okay. The problem was human error; not much you can do about that! After all, the electricity was there – we just couldn’t get to it! πŸ˜† Yep, Typhoon HAIYAN (Tropical Storm 31W) is definitely headed for the Visayas as I type. It could turn, but we’ll have to wait and see. End of season storms are what usually bite us up here in Ilocos Norte. Tropical Depression WILMA (Tropical Storm 30W) is currently out to sea headed to Vietnam after leaving Palawan earlier today (and passing through the Visayas… Read more »

Bill S.
Guest
Bill S.

Paul, We use generators a lot here, because a lot of the time, when I send the installation crew out, the place doesnt have electric yet, so I have 3 different models of Honda generators, the oldest is not made anymore but its at least 13 years old, and will still start most times on the first pull, unless its set for a long time, might take 2-3 pulls then. We have 2 newer EB6500’s that are still in production and have never had one problem with either one. In my opinion, you cant go wrong with a Honda, we… Read more »

Paul
Guest

Thanks, Bill S. – Will keep that good info in mind. If any, the only problems I’d imagine would be availability of specific generator brands and models here, up north. So far, I’ve seen my fill of Chinese stuff. I know other equipment is out there – just have to find it! πŸ˜†

PalawanBob
Guest
PalawanBob

No generator for me.
I have a decent size solar set-up but I am building something that will be even better… something beyond solar and wind energy.
Everybody should be ready for a PROLONGED (several months) brown-out.
Generators are only a short term (a few days) solution.

Paul
Guest

Hi Bob – You wouldn’t be going “geo-thermal” or “deep sea” on us, would you? πŸ˜‰ Using the seas is one way of obtaining renewable energy, but it’s still cost prohibitive (at least for me). No geo-thermal activity around here to tap into, either. Since my problems are short term, then a generator may be the answer. (Of course, being “thrifty,” waiting out the repairman might be a possible answer, too!) πŸ˜†

Mike K.
Guest
Mike K.

During the Quake we lost power for 28 hours… Sure would have been nice to have Ol’ Genny backing us up at that time. I set here at home calmly watching TD 30 (Wilma) pass directly over head here in Bohol, while thinking about that generator I need to find and install. Now, of course, as most of the LiP readers know we are bracing for Super Typhoon Yolanda and I am still pondering getting that generator for the house. Sure I know I may need it one day, sure I know the cost involved, the convenience it provides, the… Read more »

Paul
Guest

Hi Mike – Perhaps, “Procrastination is the key to flexibility!” We are two very flexible people! πŸ˜†

Still, it would be nice to have that generator to help keep the refrigerated foods cold. Will be window shopping again this weekend to see what is available – focusing on a different section of the capital city that boasts generators and other such equipment.

Mike K.
Guest
Mike K.

Ha-ha, Why do today what you can put off till tomorrow! I was sitting here reading your reply when I felt another aftershock here in Bohol… With the aftershocks and a Super Typhoon coming this should make for an interesting couple days of procrastination.

Good luck with your window shopping, perhaps if you find us a deal too good to pass up we can both do today what we could have put off till tomorrow.

Paul
Guest

Funny thing happened on the way to window shopping . . . . πŸ˜†

A friend of mine who wants to go window shopping with me can’t make it until he returns from Manila, so it looks like procrastination wins again. Will have to put off the window shopping trip until next week, but we’ve scheduled up a LOT of windows to look into! πŸ˜‰

Mike K.
Guest
Mike K.

Well I guess procrastination didn’t pay off in the end for that generator. Super Typhoon Yolanda left my entire area without power for a very long time and I ended up buying a generator that I do not like nor ever wanted. Should the blackout continue I will be in the market for a better generator. On the bright side, those interested in a 2nd hand generator may soon be in luck as the market will be flooded with them once Bohol and Leyte can stand on their own this of course not to mention Northern Cebu.

Paul
Guest

Hi Mike K – That’s sound advice: get a good generator to start with. Me? I’m still thinking about it all. πŸ˜†

PalawanBob
Guest
PalawanBob

Hi Paul
No, it’s not the ocean tides or geothermal, I am working on a force that everybody knows, it’s called GRAVITY!
As an indication and a HARBINGER of what’s coming, watch what’s going on on 13th and 14th of this month in USA.
‘They’ are giving us a VERY SUBTLE message and it’s NOT an advice to buy a generator.

Paul
Guest

Hi Bob – OH! The North American Power-Grid-Down Drill (GridEx-II). Didn’t notice anything unusual during GridEx-I back in November of 2011, but then this time around, the government is planning much more involvement in the drill.

Am wondering how GRAVITY (the force) figures in? Or have you used a secondary definition of the word?

SIGN UP TO JOIN OUR GIVEAWAYS & INFO NEWSLETTER

Make sure you've signed up to our newsletter to get exclusive newsletter only content! Also be updated about all our important events and other important info that our readers rely on.

SIGNUP FORM


Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.