A couple weeks ago, Davao Light and Power Company (DLPC) announced that one of their coal plants will be down for maintenance, so we can expect brownouts for 10 days. No problem, maintenance is normal and expected. The brownouts were about 3 hours per day, sometimes there were 2 so 6 hours. For us, our Internet went out for an additional 3 hours or so each day because of the way our ISP works (they don’t have a generator so the internet goes down if they have a brownout).
Anyway, a few days ago was the end of the maintenance and we were supposed to be good, no more brownouts, right? WRONG. Today (Saturday), we had another brownout, one we weren’t supposed to have according to them. In addition to this, a couple days in a row now, brownouts have been very long, 4-6 hours each. According to them it was an unscheduled… So why even have a schedule? It’s incredibly frustrating. Some people say that the schedule for their area was 8PM, but at 2:30PM they had a brownout. This happens a lot. Their schedules are a joke.
I’ve been visiting their Facebook page today to see what to expect for the next few days, and the comments section is really filled with a bunch of great points. One of the comments that really stood out to me was of someone who had an interview with an employer over Skype for an online teaching position, she said that a couple days before the interview, she got a call from the employer asking if she lived in Davao, she said yes and the employer cancelled the interview because they were worried about the power issues. These brownouts are affecting people’s livelihoods, there are several more people just like that woman who had jobs online and now can’t do their work. The lady said that she was hoping to get the job to help her family, and now she can’t.
Another person said that she has daily dialyses at home but because of the power outages, she’s having a hard time. Even if she does check the schedule and make sure she does the dialysis between brownouts, it’s still risky, because, again, their schedules are a joke.
One guy posted a comment saying that despite all these brownouts, his power bill hasn’t changed because Davao Light increased the cost of power. Their reason might seem legit, they say they raise the price because the company they buy the power from raised the price as well… Only, the company they buy power from is their parent company. You’d think they would put that money to good use, but nope, no improvements in sight…
Davao Light posts a schedule every week for the brownouts on their Facebook. It’s a simple table with the time on one side and the date on top. Different areas are in different groups, so Matina might be in group A. Easy to understand… except, it’s not. I haven’t seen a list of locations and which group they belong to anywhere. That should be linked in every post. One person actually said that they called DLPC to ask which group they belonged in, the DLPC representative said group A. The guy called again to confirm or whatever and this time, he was in group B… Really an easy system, isn’t it?
Every time there’s a brownout in the area, if there’s a DLPC building there, they aren’t affected by the brownout. Kinda understandable, that building might be critical to their business. Here’s the thing though, I read that they don’t even try to save power, all the signs are on and everything. They really make their buildings easy to find, don’t they?
Many people say that they should invest in alternate forms of power like solar or wind. Someone cited Denmark relying on wind power and yet the Philippines is still using coal plants, it really shows how far behind we are. The Philippines gets a lot of sunshine, why not use it? Sure it will cost a bit to get up and running, but in the long run it’ll pay for itself.
Davao Light really hasn’t done anything to help the situation, every time they respond to comments it’s always a canned response asking for account information. It really shows that their respect for their customers is about as much as the amount of power they have for us… almost none. They spew excuse after excuse and never offer a solution. “It’s this other company, they run the plants”, “It’s this El Nino Phenomenon”, “We don’t have time because we’re too busy counting your money”. But really, we’re stuck with them. I don’t know of any other power company here.
So that’s been my week, full of brownouts. I can expect another week of it… Actually make that year, cause I don’t see them doing anything to fix this. Too busy counting money probably…