3-hour power interruptions burden residents in Metro Manila, parts of Luzon

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 13, 2019   •   1853

Barangay Sto. Cristo, Quezon City resident Marie Louise Cacapit and her child spent the night inside their car because of the power interruption in their area.

“Sa sasakyan kami natulog para malamigan lang. Wala na ngang tubig wala ng kuryente napakinit pa ng panahon, maiiyak kana sa sobrang init, (We slept in the car just to cool ourselves off. There’s no water, no power and then with this heat)” she said.

READ: Power outages might last until April 21

Residents in Metro Manila and other parts of Luzon experienced a three-hour power outage, according to National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP).

Carmelito Inocencio, also a resident of Barangay Sto. Cristo Quezon City slept on the floor because of the extreme heat.

“Sobra talagang init grabe talaga, sa sahig na ako umano—sa semento para mahanginan, dito ako malamigan, (It was too hot, I slept on the floor just to feel the cold)” he said.

READ: DOE: No looming power crisis in PH

Thousands of residents in Metro Manila and other provinces in Luzon region including Caloocan, Parañaque, and parts of Bulacan and Cavite were affected by the three-hour power interruption.

National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) declared a red alert status on Friday (April 12) for 13 hours, from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.

NGCP’s data showed that power demand peaked at 10,334 megawatts while the available capacity is only 10,220 megawatts.

The Manila Electric Company (Meraclo) will have three-hour rotational power interruption for its customers to compensate for the low power reserve.

READ: Meralco assures no power outages during elections

Meralco Spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga said there is not enough power reserves.

“Ngayon negative, ibig sabihin wala na talaga tayong mapagkukunang reserba. In fact, deficiency na tayo. Kapag sinabing red alert it means wala ka nang makukuhang reserba para punuan ang pagkukulang, (Now it’s negative. Meaning we have no reserves. In fact, there is a deficiency [in supply]. Red alert means there are no more reserves to fill the demand)” he said.

According to the Department of Energy (DOE) they did not expect the power supply situation to reach the red alert status.

DOE Spokesperson Usec. Felix William Fuentebella said four power plants already shutdown.

“Nagkaroon ng shutdown, nadagdag itong planta na bumigay. So apat na planta plus this on 150MW lumala sitwasyon, (Another power plant shut down. So from four power plants that shutdown plus this one. The situation is getting worse)” he said.

The energy department expects a new alert status by Saturday (April 13).

They also hope that the power situation in the Luzon region will become normal by Wednesday (April 17), when some power plants are expected to resume operations after their temporary shutdown.—Aileen Cerrudo (with reports from Joan Nano)

International travel still restricted under GCQ, PH Immigration bureau says

Robie de Guzman   •   May 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) said on Friday that international travel restrictions at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will still be implemented despite the easing of community quarantine protocols in Metro Manila.

In a statement, Immigration Commissioner Jaime Morente said that international travel restrictions imposed under the enhanced community quarantine and modified enhanced community quarantine are still in place unless these are lifted or eased by the national government.

“As a consequence, our operations at the NAIA are still downscaled and our personnel there are still on skeletal and rotational deployment,” Morente said.

“Nonetheless, we assure the public that we are always ready to resume full, normal operations in our international airports once the government decides to ease or lift these travel restrictions,” he added.

Meanwhile, Immigration acting port operations chief Grifton Medina said that BI officers at the NAIA currently serve an average of only 20 to 30 flights a day, a third of which are special flights that ferry medical supplies and other kinds of cargo into the country.

As for the passenger flights, Medina said these are mostly repatriation flights that transport returning overseas Filipino workers (OFW) and chartered sweeper flights that bring foreigners stranded here back to their home countries.

Under existing guidelines approved by the Inter-Agency Task Force Against Infectious Diseases (IATF), only OFWs, Filipino citizens and their spouses and dependents, permanent residents, and foreign diplomats are allowed to enter the country.

All foreigners can leave anytime but Filipinos are not allowed to depart unless they are permanent residents or holders of student visa in their country of destination.

Metro Manila will be placed under GCQ beginning June 1 after President Rodrigo Duterte approved the recommendation of the Inter-Agency Task Force to ease quarantine restrictions.

Under GCQ, limited operations of public transportation will be allowed to resume and more businesses are allowed to reopen.

Metro Manila may transition to GCQ after May 31 —Malacañang

Marje Pelayo   •   May 27, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — The Inter-Agency Task Force against COVID-19 hopes to come up with a decision on whether to extend or lift the existing modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) in Metro Manila and other areas in the country after May 31.

Malacañang sees a greater chance of transitioning from MECQ to general community quarantine (GCQ) come June 1 as recommended by National Task Force on COVID-19 Chief Implementer Carlito Galvez and Interior Secretary Eduardo Año.

“They gave their recommendation to the IATF but I can quote both of them, chances are we will in fact be transitioning to GCQ in Metro Manila according to the chief implementer and the DILG secretary,” noted Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque. 

The Metro Manila Council (MMC), likewise, recommended to the IATF to place the National Capital Region (NCR) to GCQ.

If that is so, public transport will be allowed but only on a limited capacity to ensure that minimum health standards are observed. 

Meanwhile, Roque appealed to both the public and private sectors to finalize their work schemes following the 50% operational capacity wherein half of the total number of employees will be working on site and half  will be working from home.

“We are appealing to both the private and public sector to ensure at least 50-50 workforce,” Roque said. MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Monthly installment notice, ipadadala ng bukod sa aktuwal na buwanang bill — Meralco

Marje Pelayo   •   May 25, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Magpapadala ang Meralco ng hiwalay na notice para sa monthly installment sa mga costumer nito upang makagaan sa mga bayarin sa gitna ng krisis ng coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Ito ay alinsunod sa direktiba ng Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) kung saan ang mga customer na may konsumong 200 kWh pababa simula Pebrero ay maaring hatiin ang bayad sa naipong konsumo mula March 1 hanggang May 31 sa loob ng anim na buwan.

Habang ang may konsumong 201 kWh pataas noong Pebrero ay hanggang apat na buwan lamang ang installment plan. 

Halimbawa, kung P5,400 ang naipong halaga para sa Marso hanggang Mayo, hahatiin ito sa anim na buwan. 

Ibig sabihin, mula Hunyo hanggang Nobyembre ay may dagdag na bayad tuwing a-kinse ng buwan na halagang P900. 

Paglilinaw ng Meralco, hindi kasama sa kuwenta ng installment plan ang regular na konsumo sa bawat buwan. 

Dahil sa pagkagulat na naidulot ng biglang pagtaas ng billing, nagpasya ang Meralco na magpadala ng sulat sa mga costumer upang maipaliwanag ang naging kompyutasyon ng kanilang konsumo mula Marso hanggang Mayo at kung bakit mayroong napadalhan ng overestimated o di kaya’y underestimated na billing para sa mga naturang buwan.

Ayon sa kumpanya, ibinase ang billing sa average consumption sa nakalipas na tatlong buwan mula nang suspendihin ang pagbabasa ng metro ng kuryente dahil sa pagpapatupad ng enhanced communtiy quarantine (ECQ).

Base sa naging Joint Committee Hearing ng Energy Commission noong nakaraang linggo, sinabi ng Meralco na itinuloy lamang nila ang pagbabasa ng metro noong April 11 para sa commercial at industrial companies habang April 27 naman sa residential customers.

Subalit halos wala pang isang porsyento sa mga residential clients ang nabasahan noong Abril, ayon sa Meralco. 

“May mga area ho na hindi pa namin napapasukan para mag meter read because strikto ang area or still under lockdown,” paliwanag ni Victor Genuino, ang vice president at head ng Customer Retail Services and Corporate Communications ng Meralco. 

“We will strive for para basahan itong mga metro in June, and adjustments in the May bill will be reflected in the June bill,” dagdag nito.

Naglabas ng direktiba ang ERC na magpadala na lamang ng bukod na billing base sa aktuwal na konsumo. 

Nangako rin ang Meralco na ibabalik ang sobrang bayad o di kaya ay ike-credit na lamang sa mga susunod na bills ang naibayad nang halaga mula Marso hanggang Abril. 

“MERALCO would just like to say that we will fully comply with all the directives of the DOE and ERC regarding ECQ and MECQ on billings, payment extension and installment payments,” ani Genuino.

Upang maiwasan ang ganitong problema, tinitingnan na ng Meralco ang paggamit ng ‘smart meter reading’ na teknolohiya kung saan maaring malaman ang kunsome ng customer sa pamamagitan ng ‘remote reading.’ MNP (sa ulat ni Harlene Delgado)

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