Zamcelco’s unreliable equipment PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 31 July 2018 13:22

By  Remedios F. Marmoleño

The electricity outages in my house are happening regularly and frequently. Some days as often as 4 times in one afternoon. The outages usually do not last very long, but the frequency is certainly a nuisance.  Not knowing what the cause is I asked some friends when I sat with them recently, friends who know more about this situation than I, and I was told the cause is “unreliability”.  What is that?

I was told that Zamcelco’s equipment – basically the transformers- are old and many need to be replaced. When the voltage falls below what is needed, the old transformers trip and so an outage takes place. The transformers need to be reset for the power to flow again. But  the event has to be noticed and then someone has to reset the equipment. The trip off takes only a few minutes but then that is the reason for the outage.

When I asked why new transformers are not put in place of the old ones, I was told “That is the real problem”.  Zamcelco, it seems,  does not have the capability to buy new transformers because it does not earn enough money to finance this capital expenditure. Naïve as I am, I asked why not since the subscribers generally have to pay their bills or their electricity supply is cut off.

Patiently, my friends told me this situation is prevailing  because Zamcelco’s system loss is very high, at around 25%,  and greatly exceeding the 8% or so set by NEA. Just exactly what is system loss?  The loss can be due to technical reasons but most of it is  man- made. I was told the man- made loss  is the power that enters the Zamcelco lines, enters the distribution lines, but cannot be accounted for in the record from the meters of all legitimate subscribers of Zamcelco.  If the power drawn is not reported it is not paid for. Hence, system loss.. In plain words, some people draw power but do not pay for what they draw. Or not all of it anyway.

That explanation may not be as technically accurate as it should be. I am not an electrical engineer but you can be sure it is essentially correct.

The sad thing is that those of us who pay for our electricity bill as presented subsidize those who cause the system loss because there is some surcharge that is passed on to us in our monthly bill to partially cover the system loss.

With each billing period Zamcelco loses a lot of money and one day we might just wake up to know that our coop has shut down.