17-hour blackout hits Surigao City, 2 Surigao Norte towns

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/24 November) — A prolonged blackout in the city on Sunday and Monday drew flak from residents who blamed it on the local power distribution firm.

Sunday’s scheduled blackout affected 18 towns in Surigao del Norte and Surigao City.

However, the outage in the city and two towns stretched to 17 hours while those in other affected areas serviced by the Surigao del Norte Electric Cooperative only lasted 12 hours.

The power curtailment lasted from 6 am to 6pm Sunday except in Surigao City and San Francisco and Malimono towns in Surigao del Norte.

Lawyer Carlo Reynaldo Lozada Jr. said the prolonged blackout dismayed him and blamed it Surneco, the lone power utility servicing Surigao City and 11 towns.

The National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ preventive maintenance work caused Sunday’s blackout. Aside from Surneco’s franchise areas, it also covered the nine towns in Siargao Island under the Siargao Island Electric Cooperative Inc.

Bambi Capulong, NGCP media communications officer said they resumed the power supply at 6pm Sunday as scheduled.

Noel Ugay, a consumer in Surigao City said in his Facebook account that Surneco extended the outage without notice.

Engr. Narciso I. Caliao Jr., Surneco general manager issued an apology over a radio station on Monday morning.

“Mangayo kami og dispensa ug pasensya sa mga gumagamit sa kuryente na napakyas kami sa pagpabalik sa kuryente,” Caliao said. (We asked for consideration and patience on the part of all the consumers for our failure to restore power as scheduled)

He attributed the delayed restoration of power to a technical glitch at one of their substations.

He said the batteries of their equipment got drained and had to be recharged for it to fully function.

But some consumers were angered by Surneco’s failure to inform them beforehand.

“I got pissed off because our work was affected. We can’t do our job and we have to do it on time. This recurring brownout and Sunday’s prolonged blackout pissed me off, everyone is pissed off,” said Jameel Anonuevo, a graphic artist in Surigao City.

MindaNews tried to contact Caliao but failed to get [his] side on the recurring brownout.

Surneco did not issue any statement either on their Facebook account or to the media. (Roel N. Catoto/MindaNews)