Lim: A dark place

·3 min read

I warn—I do not write from a good place. It’s been 22 days since Odette. And power has not returned. Not in my place of work or in my place of rest—which is exactly the same address.

An address that seems to have been erased from the Visayan Electric grid. We have requested energization by phone, email, text message, Messenger. Nothing.

No power in our other buildings either—ALL located on main roads. One would imagine that Visayan Electric would prioritize, after the water pumping stations, hospitals and other vital installations, major thoroughfares, right?

I confess I don’t have a clear understanding of how Visayan Electric is going about energizing different areas around the city. If they could provide a satisfactory explanation for the order by which they are energizing different locations, I would be less pissed.

I live on a major thoroughfare. One electric post was down about 200 meters from our location but that downed post has been cleared about a week ago. A day or two after, the streetlight came back on. And power on interior roads is back.

Water from the Metropolitan Cebu Water District flowed 12 days after Odette. That was a welcome respite. Still, we need power to pump water up into the tanks. We have a gen set. But diesel was hard to procure in the days that ensued. Thankfully, that’s over now.

The water refilling stations nearby have not yet resumed operations. And last night, our reverse osmosis water system died on us. No landlines working. No WIFI either. Globe is finally back but data remains slow and spotty.

I look out the window, day and night, waiting for a glimpse of a lineman or utility vehicle. I swear, the odds of finding Prince Charming and his carriage are better.

If I had not heard of money exchanging hands between some homeowners and some linemen, I would not question why we still don’t have power now given the scale of destruction that Odette brought. But a major thoroughfare in the dark even after 22 days? And hearing it from the horse’s mouth?

I am not saying that Visayan Electric is complicit. I am not saying that all who have power back have gone down this route. But some very desperate homeowners and some unscrupulous linemen are making the situation more disheartening than it should be.

I write this during “shutdown hours.” We do not run our gen set 24 hours due to the high cost and high odds of prematurely killing it. And we conserve energy by keeping our waking and working hours hot and mosquito-laden—meaning without air-conditioning.

We don’t want a repeat of New Year’s Eve when our gen set dramatically flat-lined and left us completely defeated as we welcomed the new year in darkness. I nearly flat-lined too thinking about my father’s oxygenator.

I did warn you that I write from a “dark place.”

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