By By Fernan A. Gianan
A second look at Sanchez’s power proposal
posted 6-May-2019  ·  
1,727 views  ·   0 comments  ·  

Saturday was became insufferable for more than 50,000 member-consumer-owners of the First Catanduanes Electric Cooperative, Inc. (FICELCO) as 12 brownouts, some of them lasting for as long as an hour and coming one after the other, occurred on the Catanduanes grid.

The weekend was also ruined for participants at the regional conference of the Integrated Institute of Electrical Engineers (IIEE) held at the CSU gymnasium and auditorium. Ironically, the keynote speaker of the conference was National Power Corporation (NPC) president Pio Benavidez Jr., who had assured recently that the island would have adequate power after he decided to defer the installation of a power barge at Virac port that was intended to address the perennial shortage during summer.

The NPC boss had based his assessment on the promise of Sunwest Water & Electric Co. (SUWECO) that its installation of 6.6 megawatts of diesel gensets under the controversial 2nd Amendment of its Electricity Supply Agreement with FICELCO would be completed by the end of April 2019.

Ironically, too, it was a breakdown at SUWECO;s Solong diesel plant that caused the 12 brownouts last Saturday that continued until Sunday as of presstime.

FICELCO management disclosed that the Solong plant’s 13.2 kilovolt main vacuum breaker automatically trippes due to unbalanced line grid current, causing the other power plants to fail after being overloaded.

A possible line fault was also detected at Feeder 3, which was immediately resolved by FICELCO repair crews.

Before the Holy Week, it was the turn of the NPC’s 3.6-megawatt diesel power plant to break down, causing rotating brownouts that lasted for one to three hours in some areas. This is the one which used to be operated by Catanduanes Power Generation, Inc. (CPGI) before its rental agreement was not renewed by NPC despite an appeal from the cooperative.

Some technical personnel are questioning the capability of the NPC to handle emergency repair of such a big genset, considering that it ordinarily takes some time for the government agency to procure needed spare parts. 

The frustrating fact that power outages regularly occur during summer months until the start of the rainy season in September, despite the usual assurances from power suppliers, should make the people take a second look at congressional candidate Hector Sanchez’s campaign promise to do everything possible to link the Catanduanes grid to the mainland grid using a submarine power cable.

Given a chance to sit in Congress, the successful businessman with degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering could at least give hope for the long-suffering consumers on the island.


Caritas Virac will hold the Candidates’ Forum for provincial candidates this coming Monday, May 5, 2019, at Plaza Rizal in Virac.

With funds secured from the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC), Caritas executive director Fr. Reynato dela Rosa has conducted Voter Education Fora in all 11 towns, with the May 5 event to offer the people a chance to hear the candidates elaborate on their plans for the people of Catanduanes.

Whether all of the candidates will attend the forum is another matter, particularly since some of the bets in the past did not show up at the venue.

All of them, except for several who have decided to slow down their pace or no longer have the time to cover all barangays, are now in the final phase of the campaign and preparing for the last stage of the election which most voters eagerly await.

WHILE THE CAT'S AWAY. A woman is in bed with her lover, who also happens to be her husband's best friend. They make love for hours and, afterwards, while they're just lying there, the phone rings. Since it's the woman's house, she picks up the receiver. The best friend listens, only hearing her side of the conversation:

"Hello? Oh, hi... I'm so glad that you called... Really? That's wonderful.... Well, I'm happy to hear you're having such a great time... Oh, that sounds terrific... Thanks. Okay. Bye bye."

She hangs up the telephone and her lover asks, "Who was that?"

"Oh" she replies, "That was my husband telling me all about the wonderful time he's having on his fishing trip with you."

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