Showing posts with label no electricity in Panglao. Show all posts
Showing posts with label no electricity in Panglao. Show all posts

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Just a few more days; power and water crisis still in Bohol

Jenalyn Castaño went to bed early on Friday night since the province was plunged into darkness.

As soon as she awoke, she reached from her bed and flicked the nearest light switch.

There was light.

A student is using a rechargeable flashlight 
while studying her lesson. The province of Bohol
 is plunged into darkness after a strong earthquake
 hit Leyte last Thursday. Leo Udtohan
"Nakurat ko kay naa nay kuryente mao gi-charged nako dayun akong cellphon  (I was surprised that there was already electricity that is why I immediately charged my cellular phone)," said Castaño, 30, who lives on Lamdagan Street in this city.

"Hopeful ko padayun na unta ni nga musiga na (I am hopeful this will continue)"

Although power had resumed in Bohol last Friday night but it was limited only in the capital city of Tagbilaran and for a limited hours. An average six-hour rotational brownout had been implemented in Tagbilaran due to acute power deficiency throughout Bohol because of the shutdown of a geothermal power plant in Leyte, the province’s main energy source.

Power barge
Local leaders said the power supply in Bohol will be fully restored soon.

Acting provincial administrator lawyer John Mitchell Boiser said Bohol has sought to harness energy from two power barges which came from IloIlo City and General Santos City.

“That is another option to address the power outage since the power lines in Leyte will take weeks to restore,” said Boiser.

He said the power barge from IloIlo City is expected to arrive in Bohol in three to seven days, while the power barge from General Santos City would take about three weeks to reach Bohol.

Boiser said officials of the energy companies last Thursday inspected three proposed docking sites of the power barges in Cortes, Maribojoc, and Loon towns.

Once the barges arrive and are ready to operate, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) will then have to install lines to transmit power to electric distributors.

Each barge can generate up to 32 megawatts of power.

Bohol has a power demand of 70-80 megawatts, Boiser said.

In the meantime, Bohol Light Company Inc., the main power distributor in Bohol, tapped Bohol Diesel Power Plant (BDPP) in Barangay Dampas, Tagbilaran to supply power in the city although its capacity was not enough to meet the demand. The SPC Island Power Corporation which owns the BDPP was given provisional authority to operate by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) last week.

Residents have been hit by the double whammy
 of a power blackout and the subsequent 
water service interruption after the Leyte earthquake. 
Leo Udtohan
The BDPP’s capacity to release power to the province’s capital was granted following an appeal made by the provincial board members, according to Totsie Escobia, provincial information officer.

Escobia said the request was also expedited through the efforts of Gov. Edgar Chatto, who was in Canada for an official function. Bohol has been and still is dependent on its power supply from Malitbog Geothermal Plant in Leyte province being connected with submarine cable from Maasin City to President Carlos P. Garcia island town of Bohol.

Power requirement for Bohol was between 70-80 MW during peak hours, said May Hope Arcenal, BLCI spokesperson.

Bohol has three hydro plants in Hanopol in Balihan town, Loboc town and Sevilla town with a combined capacity of less than 10MW.

 Arcenal said BDPP can generate up to 12 MW which was alternately distributed by the BLCI to its consumers in Tagbilaran City. But it was not enough since Tagbilaran's power demand was 25 MW, she added.

Some areas in Tagbilaran City had power for only an hour due to limited supply and high demand. Arcenal said mall owners and big establishments in the city used generator sets to help maximize the power. Water was also a problem that residents stormed supermarkets and water refilling stations to buy potable water. Arcenal said water is also rationed in some barangays.

Tagbilaran residents are waiting for water until dawn.
Photo by  Leo Udtohan
The Bohol Electric Cooperatives 1 and 2 also started to ration electricity to its consumers.

Double whammy
Residents affected by the power outage also lost flowing potable water.

Many residents on Lamdagan Street in Cogon were carrying their containers as they lined-up to wait for their turn to get water from the water tankers sent by the city government to ration water to the affected areas.

The community is among the 15 barangays (villages) in the city that are affected by the temporary water supply cut-off.

 “We have endure the long line because we don’t have water in the house,” said 15-year-old Jezzrel Taal, 15, about the water service interruption, on Saturday afternoon.

Residents along Graham Avenue in Barangay Booy also queued for their water ration until Saturday night. Others went home when the fire truck didn’t return.

“It doesn’t matter if we don’t have electricity for as long as we have water,” said Bebei Lim, 46.

The Bohol Water Utilities, Inc. (BWUI) in Tagbilaran City used portable generator sets to power one of the water pumping stations along the J.A. Clarin-Dao road for its consumers. But the supply was limited to few areas.

People bought mineral water at P30 to P50 per container instead of the usual P15 to P20 in water refilling stations.

The owners said the increase in prices was due to the added cost since they were using generator sets to operate.

Some residents would go to Caingget Beach and Bulok-Bulok Spring to wash their clothes and take a bath.

But Mia Cadenas, 59, a resident of Barangay Sto. Nino in San Miguel town said many coped with the situation.

“We were getting used to not having any electricity. The big problem was we could no longer watch our favorite telenovelas,” said Cadenas.

The water service interruption was not a big deal for some since they could still get clean water from the deep well and spring.

Stores in Tagbilaran and municipal halls also offered free charging of  cellphones.

In Jagna town, Councilor Anthony Aniscal allowed residents to charge their cellphones for free using his generator set. 

Tourism affected
The tourism industry has been affected by the power outage.

Resort owners and operators in Panglao Island, the province’s tourism jewel, complain that the constant power outage in the province is cutting down the number of tourists visiting the area.

Resort owner Dr. Doloreich Dumaluan says the power crises 
has affected his resort in Panglao town. Leo Udtohan
Dr. Doloreich Dumaluan, owner of Dumaluan Beach Resort 2, said they had several booking cancellations due to the unstable power supply in the province.

Dumaluan Beach Resort 2 is a six-hectare property in Barangay Bolod in Panglao which was established in 1998. “Definitely, we are affected by the power interruption.

Although it is business as usual here, our tourist arrival declined due to power and water issues,” said Dumaluan. Dumaluan said that the decline started during the Abu Sayyaf infiltration last April.

The military forces killed all the Abu Sayyaf members in Inabanga town on the northern tip of Bohol, about 81 km from Panglao where tourists would usually go. Dumaluan said they had been relying mainly on three generator sets which were very costly to operate for his 107 rooms.

They are spending P30,000 to P50,000 daily for fuel to run the generators.

“We have no other choice since we need to cater the needs of our guests who are staying in our resort,” said Dumaluan. Most of the guests are Europeans.

Dumaluan is calling on the government to help address the power situation in the province.

In case for Panglao, Boheco 1 is distributing power in Panglao town with at least 6 megawatts. Dumaluan is urging for a power plant to be centrally located in Bohol as the province is only relying on power plants based in Eastern Visayas.

“Now that Leyte is affected, Bohol is also affected. They have to not only listen now, they have to learn not only to learn but to work now because this happened thrice already,” he said.

The first was on Oct. 15, 2013 when the province was hit by a magnitude 7.2 tremor that brought Bohol to its knees. The next month, Supertyphoon “Yolanda” hit most parts of the Visayas and affected the power suply on Nov. 8, 2013.

More than three years later, another strong earthquake hit Leyte province on July 6 but still affected Bohol. Smarting from the Bohol earthquake and Yolanda, Dumaluan purchased three generator sets for his resorts. He also put up his own wastewater treatment facility and a seven-meter long and four-meter wide water tank. “But it is still not enough,” he said.

But the effect on smaller beach resorts was worse. A resort owner (who asked for anonymity) said her guests left the resort due to the brownout and inability of water.

“It is hurting us because this is causing financial setback on our part,” she said.

Davon (family name withheld upon his request), a Russian guest, said he had to cut short his three-day Bohol trip.

“I have no choice here,” he said, because he could not sleep well with the noise coming from the generator set.

But Josephine Remolador-Cabarrus, head of the Bohol Tourism Office, assured that the power crisis in Panglao was just temporary since the provincial government was closely coordinating with the Department of Energy to speed up the restoration of power in Bohol.

She said that Bohol was able to respond the power outage in 2013 that lasted for a month. The province's tourism industry then bounced back in 2015 and 2016.

“Considering that tourism is very resilient industry, it would somehow bounce back. We always have to hope even they said that hope is the greatest sin, but hope is the thing that will get us going. I know the industry will bounce back,” she said.


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