Almost Apo PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 27 August 2015 13:03

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Los Angeles, CA. — No,  this isn’t a sequel to Rotary West’s “Almost Apo” which was a resounding success. Congratulations, President Nanding Camba. It’s about the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Zamcelco) almost becoming financially viable. An independent management contractor will be in town to help Zamcelco attain financial stability through an enhancement program, assuring, therefore, the construction of an embedded baseload power plant in San Ramon.

This is a welcome development that assures Zamcelco’s member-consumers that electricity will get to be sustained. In the meantime, Alsons Power Group subsidiaries and other power providers are infusing the needed power supply to temporarily stop the irritating blackouts. By January, next year, the Western Mindanao Power Corp. will be giving another 50 megawatts that will guarantee power generation and make Zamboanga blackout-free.

Like California, Mindanao is facing a power crisis because of the drought. The John S. Eastwood power station, the powerhouse of Southern California Edison’s Big Creek hydroelectric system, isn’t functioning 100 percent due to the long dry spell. The water level has fallen so low in the Sierra mountain’s Shaver Lake that huge granite boulders are visible along the shoreline.

Lake Lanao is slowly drying up, killing little by little our hydroelectric plants. In the ’80s, we rejoiced at the coming of Maria Cristina because of cheap and thought-of reliable power supply. Zamcelco sold its diesel-powered engines, leaving nothing in reserve, or stand-by generators, in case something went wrong with the grid.

We foolishly held on to the promise of good fortune that we thought would bring in capital investments. Though Mindanao is rich in everything, venture capitalists never came because of the unstable peace and order conditions — something that the national government is trying to solve through the passage of the Bangsamoro Basic Law, or whatever it has been reframed. As if it will.

The idleness of the hydroelectric plants due to repairs and the drought come at a time when Mindanao needs all the energy it can have to propel economic development, a phrase optimistically used since the ’80s.

Development will surely come to Zamboanga, and we will rise higher than most cities in Mindanao and the Visayas in the near future regardless of who the mayor is — Climaco-Salazar, Lobregat, Fabian, dela Cruz, Agan or Dalipe. But first, we should get rid of criminals and terrorists and narcissistic leaders in politics, they who are best described as “confident and ambitious” but also have negative qualities. But that is another topic of discussion. Maybe, next ish.

The shrinking electricity generation by the hydroelectric plants in Lanao is blamed on repairs and the drought. These twin setbacks kill everything. From the first best source of energy generation, Lake Lanao probably ranks third behind diesel-fueled power and coal-generated energy.

Hydroelectricity is a very important resource because it is cheap. But it is also vulnerable to the wrath of Mother Nature.

Food for thought: In California, Steve Berberich, chief executive of the California Independent System Operator Corp., which is responsible for making sure that power supply and demand are balanced on the transmission system, warned last month that managing wind and solar power will soon get much more complicated.

Engineers will understand this better than laymen. He said: “Just as insufficient electricity causes problems - power reductions (curtailment) and blackouts - too many electrons can damage the power grid and anything connected to it.

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 August 2015 13:04