I’M RUSHING this article to beat the deadline. Not Sun Star’s deadline before the editorial staff put to bed the Op-Ed page.

Nope, the deadline is roughly in 30 minutes, before my laptop battery conks out, writing amid the heat of El Niño. No electric fans, much less an aircon to cool me off. Thanks to the crippling blackout yesterday.

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(Well, thank God, hallelujah, the power just came back. I can finish this column, with hours to spare for the Sun Star deadline.)

Earlier, I had to go to the mall first with the family. Not being a mall rat, I shy from malls unless I have a clear errand.

But with the summer heat and with the coolers such as electric fans and the home aircon dead on the water, the mall’s centralized aircon is the perfect excuse. Probably other mallers had that in mind as well. No wonder, foot traffic was quite huge.

Juan and María Bacolod’s loss in electricity and the mall’s gains. Naturally, since the family was with me, I had to spend for lunch. Ouch, that hurts the spendthrift in me.

Of course, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) assured Visayans that we will have uninterrupted power supply starting this month at the Visayas Power Stakeholders meeting at Iloilo’s Sarabia Manor Hotel and Convention Center.

“The surplus of Cebu and Leyte will be transported to Negros and Panay and with the help of Luzon, which is always helping us, Visayas, as a whole, will have enough reserves perhaps starting and, hopefully, for the rest of the year, especially with the coming of the new plants,” NGCP’s Raúl Galano promised.

Yeah, right. This is the second week of March. And eight hours of power outage do not reassure that the power shortage has been solved.

Let me see. During the public hearings on the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 several years back, the national government assured Filipinos that national grids can provide the whole country with power. We might have power shortages in Bacolod, but power utilities can tap power sources in Luzon or Mindanao.

In fact, the Freedom from Debt Coalition noted that there is a huge energy surplus in the country, citing 2008 DOE figures that show a surplus of 4,000 megawatts based on 13,049 MW dependable capacity and peak demand of a mere 9,054 MW. So much elbow room.

Those figures corroborate what Galano promised. So why in heaven’s name did we have that eight-hour blackout yesterday? Who is to blame? Ceneco?

Lately, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are experiencing power shortages. What is disquieting is not just the power outages but calls for providing President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo with emergency powers, especially for Mindanao.

Maybe I have been watching many action suspense movies lately and the conspiracies plot must have addled my brain.

Come to think of it, though, I haven’t watched those sorts of movies lately.

My focus is on Donald Trump’s The Apprentice, which I find educational on project management. And it there one thing missing in the series are conspiracies theories.

So when I smell something’s cooking or burning, it isn’t El Niño, it could be something worse. Could emergency powers for the whole country to address the power outages be far behind?

I’m holding my breath on what the answer would be in the coming weeks.

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