Zamboanguenos say: ‘We need electricity’ PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 08 September 2014 14:20

LAS VEGAS, NV. — In a short period of time, San Ramon Power, Inc. (SRPI) will start construction of a 100-megawatt coal-fired power plant in Zamboanga city. This plant promises that Zamboanga will not have any more blackouts for the next 25 years and beyond starting in 2016 or early 2017. All the chips are in and with the approval by the Energy Regulatory Board (ERB) of the Power Supply Agreement (PSA) signed between SRPI and the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Zamcelco), our city will rise in every aspect of development.

Zamboanguenos living in Las Vegas, Nevada accept the fact that Mindanao will have power interruptions unless the electricity woe is addressed without further delay by the national government.

“It’s wonderful news that we will soon have a power plant solely for Zamboanga city to eliminate blackouts,” Carmelo San Juan, brother of former tourism Regional Director Ricardo San Juan, said. San Juan was with me when we traveled to Las Vegas during the Labor Day weekend. He has lived in the United States for the last 23 years.

A group of jolly, but hard-working, Zamboanguenos residing in the city that never sleeps, is in agreement that a power plant will boost local economy and drive in investors and capital. “We’ve seen it happen here. We’ve seen it happen in other states. Electricity triggers development The absence of it creates chaos,” they chorused.

People in the U.S. know what’s it like living in total darkness whenever a hurricane, earthquake or killer typhoons sweep certain cities.

Last October, or a month after the attack on Zamboanga by an armed group said to be men and women of the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), a large group of Zamboangueno nurses from all over the globe braved unstable law and order conditions for a biennial reunion. These are nurses who graduated from the Zamboanga General Hospital School of Nursing (now closed). They were not so impressed about where Zamboanga is now and are in conformity that development is slow. But they also said that the prospects of having a power plant in Zamboanga will drive up commerce and industry.

Zamboanguenos in California expressed enthusiasm on the construction of a power plant. Retired airline employee Ric Puno, who resides in Daly City, (which is about 10 minutes drive to San Francisco), and former president of Northern California La Hermandad Zamboanguena, said that Zamboanga will need steady and cheap power to move forward. “Necesita quita coriente,” (we need power) he stressed. Since retirement, Puno travels to Zamboanga twice a year using his flying privileges he gets from his former employer, United Airlines.

A classmate (identity withheld) of mine in high school at the Ateneo who works in Las Vegas, hasn’t been home for a while. He, too, has heard about a power plant going up in Zamboanga (through Facebook?) and was happy about the plan.

“I’ve heard about the power problem in Mindanao, particularly Zamboanga. It’s about time that we had a power plant there to spiral growth,” he, who left Zamboanga in 1969 to study in Manila and migrated to the U.S. thereafter, said.

Thirty-nine per cent of the electricity in the U.S. comes from coal plants. With the clamor for constant and cheap energy, SRPI is the solution to the irritating power outages that has, and will, cost millions of pesos to the business community forced to fire their diesel-powered generators. Hospitals and schools have been greatly affected by the intermittent blackouts. Government service is paralyzed whenever a power outage occurs.

Despite the blackouts, electricity bills remain high because we have to buy power from different power providers at high, varying rates. The joke is: “We’re paying for the blackouts.” But not for long, not for long. — BJ