Zamcelco generators not ready? PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 02 March 2016 11:24

Table Talk

BY Mike S Apostol

The scheduled blackouts in the city caught electric consumers by surprise. It needs serious pondering. In the recent past, without the electric generators, Zamcelco management  with the assistance of District 1 Congressman Celso L. Lobregat was able to negotiate with the Western Mindanao Power Corporation (WMPC), based in Sangali, this city for an additional load, to augment the supply that Zamcelco is procuring from sources outside the city. This was the reason that during the Christmas season until lately, Zamboanga City was on a status of “zero blackout”. That was the best service that Zamcelco gave the city. Early this year, another good news was announced by Zamcelco mangement that the generators the cooperative sourced out from the United Kingdom (UK) already arrived in the city and ready for installation. The combined electric generation of the bunker fuel fed imported generators of Zamcelco, will supply the energy that our contract suppliers from Ozamiz City, Davao City, Iligan City and Sarangani in Central Mindanao cannot fully extend to Zamcelco. Hence, be that as it may, Zamboanga City will still be on a “zero blackout” with those imported generators. Last week, Zamcelco announced, a major blackout in a big portion of the city, to give way to the activation of generation and distribution lines from the generators to Zamcelco’s main distribution lines for the energy end users.The emergency blackout, almost went the whole day, since, the technical people of Zamcelco also did a “break in” for the new imported generators. Zamcelco board president, Mr. Omar Sahi, happily announced in an interview over Tatak RMN Radio with Joel Sanson, that the engine test of the new generators was successful.

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Very recently, when blackouts again hit some areas in the east Coast, consumers complained to Brigada Radyo’s Sai Cortez and called up Zamcelco management for confirmation and reason for this blackout. In dismay and very disturbed, Zamcelco board president Omar Sahi again sadly said that “he was informed that the new generators” did not work as expected because of an “incompatibility” in Zamcelco’s distribution lines to the long lines of power grid suppliers. In short, the electrical lines do not match and therefore power generated from Zamcelco’s new generators cannot pass through the long lines of the power grid for distribution to the city’s end users. Board president Omar Sahi was disheartened as to why he was not informed of the problem. Perhaps the problem lies on those who tested the new generators. A professional and experienced electrical engineer and technical people by just looking at the sizes, type and capacity of those electrical supplies can discern if it can be used or not. Electrical wires from the generators directly to the sub-stations for distribution to the end users is totally different from the electrical wires in service of those long lines  of power grid that comes from hundred kilometers away from the city for distribution. This is indeed a lapse in judgement by technical people of Zamcelco.

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One reason why District 1 Congressman Celso L. Lobregat is against the sale of Zamcelco properties, and instead have the management and operation of the electric cooperative remain with the present Zamcelco officials and technical people, is that Congressman Lobregat is afraid that Zamcelco’s main problem of huge system loss will not be solved by Zamcelco’s technical people. Perhaps, Congressman Lobregat is right, that is why he has pushed hard for Zamcelco to be in Investment Management Contract (IMC) where the operations of generation and distribution will be handled by experts and experienced technical people. This is a fact that has been proven right after the “break in “ and “testing” of those new generators procured by Zamcelco from UK.

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Diesel fed power generators’ efficiency to produce electricity is not affected by nature’s inadequate rainfall except the hydro grid that needs strong water pressure to turn their turbines. Power generators run by fuel continue to run for as long as there is fuel. Brand new machines need little maintenance and therefore this city “blackouts” should have been prohibited or minimized to the barest minimum. The city could have been so alive even with scheduled distribution of water but with enough power to make up for the inconveniences. For these two inadequacies of scheduled power distribution and  water distribution  to occur in a city at the same time, is unimaginable experience and hard to cope to lead a normal and decent living. The hazards for conflagration and health epidemic are always present everyday. Come to think of it.

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Scoop: Blackout and water shortage are here to stay for a long time and all must prepare for the dire consequences. If the cloud seeding will not bring heavy rainfall for the city in the coming months, we need more prayers. Blackouts will only be solved if Zamcelco technical people will do their best for the city and not only for themselves. Agree or disagree.

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