Look up, no more wires-A A +A
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
I CAN’T wait for April 2013 to come, not because the election campaigning is going to reach its peak, but because the stretch between Fuente Osmeña and Capitol would now be “wireless.”
Those electrical wires and poles that we see crossing and crisscrossing in this section of Osmena Blvd. in Cebu City will be gone, kaput, nada, wa na. No more spaghetti wires that are jarring to the eyes.
The Visayan Electric Co. (Veco) will roll out a project in November this year, if the plan goes as scheduled, to remove the overhead wires and replace them with underground power cables.
I got a glimpse of what a wireless Osmena Blvd. will be like from a Powerpoint presentation of Valentin Saludes III, Veco’s vice president for engineering, at the Banilad office of Sebastian Lacson, Veco’s chief executive officer, yesterday.
One panel showed the current Fuente-Capitol stretch with the overhead wires. One mouse click, voila!, the electrical posts and wires were gone. The sidewalks appeared wider and cleaner and a view of the sky was unobstructed.
Veco’s project of removing the overhead wires merely complies with Cebu City Ordinance 1894 that mandates public utilities to transfer overhead wires underground. The ordinance was passed in 2001 yet but it took the prodding of Veco top guys Jimmy Aboitiz and Basti Lacson to have the power utility heed it.
Transferring the power lines from the sky to beneath the earth will entail momentary inconvenience on our part. Veco will carry out the work in bits and will not dig the entire Fuente-Capitol stretch in one full excavation.
There will be a brief power interruption when the underground cables are energized. Veco will most likely do it at night when people are asleep, Engineer Saludes said.
“Whatever we take out, we will put it back the way it was before. The digging won’t be as traumatic as digging for water and it will be less obtrusive and less invasive,” Basti said at the presentation. “We will make sure we put the least inconvenience to pedestrians and motorists.”
Basti does what he says.
The work would be less tedious and less challenging if there were no buildings in the area. Osmeña Blvd., which is being dressed by the Beautiful Cebu Movement, is a busy thoroughfare whose main use cannot be classified as mere commercial. There are residential houses there, there’s a university, a hospital, and several business establishments.
The 900-meter Fuente-Capitol stretch is going to be groundbreaking for Veco, literally and figuratively. This section alone will cost Veco P68 million. Electrical poles and overhead distribution transformers will be replaced with green boxes or pad-mounted transformers similar to the ones of a telephone company.
Veco had sent Saludes and Wilhelm Janssen Go, the young chief of the power system design department, to Calcutta to study the Indian city’s underground power cable system.
Veco is just awaiting the approval of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) on its application for authority to implement its proposed additional capital project for 2013-2014 to begin work.
Once the Fuente-Capitol stretch is done, Veco will move on to the Sinulog route. This means the Fuente Osmeña rotunda, Gen. Maxilom Ave.., New Imus Road, P. del Rosario St. and the portion of Osmeña Blvd. from the corner of P. del Rosario to Fuente.
And we thought the ugly spaghetti wires would be there forever.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 20, 2012.