An underground dream-A A +A
Saturday, September 22, 2012
ONE of the things which are part of life of urban people in developing communities are infrastructure facilities. How do electrical wires in the wrong places affect your life?
We see wires every day when we walk down the streets or we look out of the window. But issues regarding them do not really call our attention, unless one looks up, then stares at a photo of a messy street. But the poles could fall, the wires could electrify.
Cebuanos complained through the years about electrical wires along the sidestreets in the city. The wires are dangling wires, spaghetti wires, overhead wires, or hanging wires.
I looked up an old photo of old Colon street and imagined how it would have appeared if there were electric wires in electric posts! There are also photos of old Colon street where there are electric wires but, in the artist’s imagination, weren’t a mess of uncombed wires.
Columnist Godo Roperos once talked about a typhoon that pulled out an electric post near the coast in Balamban poblacion, sent it sailing a bit away, just before the wind blow pushed it hard back on the ground still standing.
In another wire story, a friend and his wife once drove out of a mall right into a storm. He tried to turn back to the center but the wind was so strong, it kept the car door closed on his wife’s side. They looked up and, lo! there were electric wires flying above the car, pulling and splashing out from poles like a scene in a bizarre play of strange noodle strings smashing against the car window.
That’s how scary wires can be, yes, they ought to be down there.
Last Thursday, I sat inside a cab waiting for the traffic light to turn green when I looked up and watched the clusters and bundles and strings of electrical wires up there covering the sky from view. I decided I would write a column on wires. I arrived at the office and started work by reading the day’s issue of Sun.Star Cebu and learned about the project of the Visayan Electric Company (Veco) to begin to bury its electrical wires according a city ordinance.
And it’s not just the way wires look, not even when they’re hooked up in clusters. It’s not because they destroy the site where they’re used as they are wires but where they’re hitched to unlovely posts, here and there leaning the wrong way.
But we have more problems with them for where they are—open to vehicles crashing against them in accidents, or the trees falling on the poles and the wires. These are only examples of causes for power interruption.
The neighborhood would have to know now how to cut or trim branches of trees where the electric post stands or this would cause wires to break and send live power cutting through the street corner. The electric facilities are open to lightning blasts, for another, or to heavy rains which in turn ground the installation. All these are not just causing electric interruption but putting lives in danger.
It makes me wonder whether there was electricity in the life of ancient Egyptians in the ancient times, and whether they put electricity sources up in poles or down underground. Historians and researches described “strange pots”, according to a source., which could be primitive batteries. But excavating teams don’t agree on a best guess.
One thing is clear, there was an absence of soot anywhere in many excavation sites, which means Egyptians thousands of years ago did not use oil lamps or candles for light.
But the good news is here, at least for Cebu city. The Visayan Electric Company (Veco) will turn their overhead wires into underground wires. Cebu City’s Ordinance 1894, which was passed in 2011, mandated underground wiring. First Veco will work on the area from the Capitol to Fuente Osmeña set to finish in 2013; and from Fuente to P. del Rosario in 2014.
I wonder when work would reach Colon street, the oldest street in the country.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 23, 2012.