Electricity in Manila

Electricity meter - "Metro"

Back in college, I had a project that featured several solar panel projects of the government in the then newly-devastated Infanta, Quezon. My project partner and I had to be driven (by our neighbor in the first trip and his family driver in the second trip) around 3 to 4 hours to reach the place.

Pillows for comfort

Honestly, I have forgotten the exact place or bayan where we went. All I remember is that it’s in Infanta and the river we had to cross was called Mahabang Lalim (“Long Deep” / “Long Depth”).

The area where we went to had to be reached by walking for an hour and a half and crossing the wide river by paying a bangkero (“boatman”) to bring us to the other side.

As we were walking around the community, I couldn’t help but fee the melancholia of the place with one resident pointing to a clear area that it was where his former neighbor and friend used to live. “Wala na. Natangay na sila nang bumaha.” (“He’s gone. They were all wiped out when it flooded.”)

Boatman
Boatman in river Mahabang-Lalim (photo taken a century ago)

The idea was cool for me then because of the solar panels. Residents were able to watch television shows through the solar panels given by the local authorities in an attempt to provide electricity in the area.

In a place where food, medicine and other basic necessities are hard to come by, people are entertained by Eat Bulaga or telenovelas.

Early last year, when I was browsing our website, I saw this article and it made me cringe.

We have the highest electricity rate in Asia?!

And that was almost a year ago.

I googled some updates and saw this.  We are now second highest (whew) and it’s a cause for celebration.

Every month, we pay almost P3000+ for our electricity consumption. We have a freezer (for the store), two tv sets, one computer, three electric fans, (we rarely use the aircon), we always use lights for all the areas of the house (we hate darkness) and we pay P3000+.

It’s hefty. Considering we don’t use aircon that much, I think it’s really hefty. But for whatever reason, the government seem to be imagining that we lack the power sources to make electricity here.

I work for a power website, and I know the politics of power generation. It just makes me sad that power subsidy is sort of nonexistent here. Other countries in Asia are into power generation so much that in the recent Power conference I went to last Nov, I felt out of place hearing the power projects of our neighbor countries.

Well, if we don’t do anything about it, I think more and more investors are going to consider transferring to other countries. The economics of power is so serious I don’t even know why I’m writing about it.

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