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Saturday, September 21, 2019

Pacete: Tormenting brownout in Silay

SILAYNON from all walks of life were awakened as early as 4:30 in the morning of Tuesday, June 7. There was brownout and that was the beginning of the agony of the Silaynons as part of the 59th Charter Anniversary Celebration that started on June 6.

The night before that, I personally experienced three short brownouts. Those could have been a prelude to the prolonged tormenting brownout for the Silaynons. People whom I know from Ceneco-Silay told me that the E. Lopez Substation transformer of Central Negros Elective Cooperative was (horribly) damaged.

That news items was never heard because television sets and electricity-operated radio units were already useless. Feeders 1,2 and 3 are not functioning.

City hall employees were preparing for Tuesday’s Employees’ Night, as a major presentation for the charter day celebration. Reporting to office is a problem without electricity. Your rice cooker cannot serve. Your generator for the power pump cannot provide water for your toilet and kitchen sink. It makes one uneasy going to work without bath and breakfast.

We are just lucky because Silay City Hall has a standby generator that can supply power to all offices, to Civic Center where our office is, and the entire plaza. Life is as usual in the plaza area but our puroks and sitios are in turmoil. At about 8:30 p.m., electricity was restored in some portions of the city particularly the critical load areas like the hospital, police station, and some government institutions.

Ceneco general manager Sulpicio Lagarde Jr. came up with a statement, “The upgrading of the E. Lopez Sub-station in Silay is actually included in the capital expenditure proposed in 2011, but the approval was delayed.” He added that the insulation capacity of the transformer is reduced over long years of usage.

If we are made to believe that Ceneco is “our cooperative,” how come that the consumers are subjected to torture by this delayed approval? My community is connected to Lopez Feeder 3. If there is brownout in the middle of the night and I would report to the dispatcher in the next morning, the dispatcher would ask, “Why do you report just now?”

I am not sure because I do know much about how “our cooperative” works. If there is brownout, the landlines become automatically busy. I am able to secure a cellphone number of the maintenance division. I can almost memorize the answer of my friend responding to my call, “Sir, our team is trouble-shooting an area in the mountain. We will consider your concern to be the next priority.”

I do not know if our Ceneco officials and members of the board are aware of this pattern. When we pay our bills, we just pay after knowing the total amount. We don’t even bother to examine the long line of “responsorial psalm” included in the long list of deductions. If we fail to pay on time or we forget to pay because we mistook that small piece of paper, we are electrically dead because the agency assigned to cut our lines has no second conscience. That is the treatment that we receive from “our cooperative.”

I am saying all these because Silay belongs to Bacolod-Talisay-Silay Tourism Circuit, a model area for tourism investment of the Province of Negros Occidental supported by the Local Governance Support Program for Local Economic Development in cooperation with the Government of Canada. It is implemented through a consortium of the Canadian Urban Institute and the Colleges and Institutes of Canada.

How can we promote the mainstreaming of Public Private Economic Initiatives Project in our Bacolod-Talisay-Silay Tourism Circuit if “our cooperative” does not give excellent power supply? In my area, the power supply resumed at 5 p.m. of June 9. Since 4:30 a.m. of June 7 until 4:59 of June 9, our house was in limbo. I do not want to include the heartache of my wife who throws away the contents of our refrigerator.

This tormenting brownout is not only torturing the Silaynons but driving away the investors from our tourism circuit. We know how Ceneco politics plays the “Game of Thrones.” Mayor Digong should know this before he becomes President. Can there be “shoot to kill order” for those who do not perform well? Expect for your next Ceneco bill to give you heart failure.
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