Fix leaks PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 14 March 2016 13:30

BEHIND  THE  LINES

BY BOB JALDON

Los Angeles, CA. — I was at White Memorial Hospital yesterday for three cardio tests to determine whether I’d need to undergo an angioplasty. The verdict will be known on April 14 yet. But my heart condition doesn’t have anything to do with the blackouts there nor the lack of water. It’s age, bro.

Two weeks ago, March 2 to be exact, when I asked Engineer Ben Conti, a consultant of San Ramon Power Corp., about the unannounced, abrupt makapeste blackouts (again), he replied this way: “Bob (the blackouts are ), due to the reduced supply from Mapalad (power plant), TMI and Western Mindanao Power Corp. whose engines are undergoing preventive maintenance schedules. These are programmed shutdowns also in preparation for the coming elections and the El Niño phenomenon. Take note that Psalm, from a high of 40 megawatts, is now delivering to Zamcelco only around 12-15 MW.”

He continued: “There are rotating blackouts from one to two hours daily and sometimes none, depending upon the supply and demand. At least this is much better than what we experienced before of 4-6 hours (blackouts) daily.”

Days later, a peeved, not angry (almost) Attorney Vic R. Solis emailed me the following: “There isn’t any explanation in the world that can justify our (Zamboanga) continuous and SIMULTANEOUS deprivation of water and power — two essential life’s imperatives that cannot be compromised. For crissakes, let’s get our (garbage) priorities right.”

The next day, Councilor V.P. Elago wrote Engr. Conti: “I have passed resolutions to this effect but to no avail. I keep on reiterating through resolutions that Zamcelco should be responsible enough to advise the consumers ahead of the scheduled power interruptions.

“Twice I passed resolutions requesting Zamcelco to improve their consumer service, particularly in their complaint department where people normally call to inquire when lights (power) are coming back.

“Three years ago they told me that they were going to set up a state-of-the-art telephone system which will enable immediate response to callers. I guess that was wishful thinking because there really isn’t any improvement up to now. Quite frustrating! Nevertheless, let me reiterate these resolutions in the next city council session.”

About this time last year, the Western Mindanao Power Corp. went on “island mode” to provide power directly to Zamcelco to shorten the blackouts during Lent. At that time, the National Power Corporation (NPC) allocated the power it got from WMPC and other sources to various electric cooperatives in Mindanao through the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

Since WMPC has become a merchant plant last Dec. 12, it has been supplying 50 MW of power to Zamcelco. Last year, Zamcelco leased a modular generating set from the National Electrification Administration (NEA). But those gensets have not been put into operation because of some technical problems, or because the Energy Regulatory Board has not yet approved its power sales agreement. If these gensets are running, they can give about 12 MW which would be enough to make up for the loss of allocation from Psalm and, therefore, overcome the blackouts. The funny thing is why isn’t Zamcelco saying why the modular gensets can’t be put into operation up to now. Hijo de mecago.

Now, water.

The state of California and particularly the Environmental Protection Agency have designated March 14-20 as “Fix a Leak Week” to drive homeowners to check household pipes for leaks. Accordingly, the U.S. wastes more than one trillion gallons of water yearly due to water leaks.

As Zamboanga continues to battle severe drought, saving every drop of water takes on a very important matter. Owners of households should, therefore, immediately report to the Zamboanga City Water District leaking faucets, or busted water pipes so that these may be fixed pronto.

How do we check for leaks? Examine your water meter before and after a 15-minute period when no water is being used. If your meter does not read exactly the same after 15 minutes, you probably have a leak in your water line. These leaks may be attributed to worn toilet flappers, dripping faucets and, for elite homes, leaking sprinkling systems.

Okay, Edgar — time to send out an advisory.