31 May 2010

Lights (Too Often) Out

Number 11 just happened... The 11th time in the past 10 days that power has gone out at Chez Jenius.

Now I don't want to hear any excuses. This is 2010 and We've had a power grid in development since the 1940s, so there is no excuse possible. People complain about the lack of electricity when their ACs don't run (thus rediscovering that We live, in fact, on a tropical island) and when their TVs go dark (thus facing the prospect of actually thinking about what to do, for a change.) I neither use AC nor give a crap about TV except for sports: what I do care about is pathetic electrical service blinking off and on and utterly destroying not only equipment, but also undermining Our economy as well.

Now a lot of people here will resent this remark, but in terms of relying on Our grid for constant power, We're definitely edging into "Dominican" territory. For years it's been a local truism that the Dominican Republic has lousy  electrical service. It did, and in some ways, it still does. But glance across the Mona Channel and you will see not only a high-tech industrial park that kicks Us in the teeth, you will also see 5 superports.


We ain't got one. And what do you think powers those facilities if not a reliable electrical infrastructure?

Sure, the DR has more land than We do and cheaper labor in relation to the dollar. That helps build superports and industrial parks. But no business worth its weight in cash is going to put millions of dollars in a country unless they are certain that the utilities they need are reliable. The Dominican Republic's measure up, while Ours increasingly...don't.

Now maybe the bulk of Dominicans are paying for the industrial access to electricity by being deprived of reliable and high-quality electrical service for their homes and by paying a high price to subsidize the industries. So what? We're doing the same with Our water. And I can assure you that there's a much thinner margin of capacity in Our water supply than there is in the Dominican's growing power supply.

I'm pretty sure the brownouts and blackouts have burned out some of My electrical equipment, including My highly-treasured Mac. Even the surge protector was fried by too-frequent surges. Just across the street, a young family was exploring the vacant house on sale, the real estate agent a little anxious, as this is her fifth showing of the house that I've seen, and Mammon knows the market's squeaky tight. The power went out and a generator fired up in its very familiar dull thrum. The agent's demeanor went from anxious to dull, her shoulders slumping a bit. They all talked for a moment and I heard the agent say "If you're interested in another property here in Cabo Rojo, I can find you something." The gentleman's comment was too low for Me to hear, but the agent's response was clear: "Well, it happens more in town than in the suburbs because the lines are older."

The guy didn't look convinced at all. I don't think he's buying anything here. And neither will investors who come to Our Island and find it darker than expected.

The Jenius Has Spoken.


James said...

Happens all the time in San Fucking Juan too, Gil. If three days go by without a power outage here in Guaynabo, I consider myself lucky. I've gone through so many UPS's I've lost count. Drives me nuts, and I plot and scheme of one day going off grid... but alas, it's too expensive to justify at the moment.

I shall, however, continue plotting my escape from the power authority.

Fran and Steve said...

Unbelievable facts about DR vs. PR! I remember the PR of the 70s. In a 10 year period, we may have had outages a couple of times a year after big storms (in Guaynabo), and DR was a s***hole. Kudos to DR and shame on PR. Hubby wants to go (big) solar (whenever we get there) and was hoping he wouldn't have to use batteries. Your experiences have us talking about alternatives. It's also eye-opening that not even a UPS can protect your electronics. Thank you. Fran

Anonymous said...

What is it PR? I think the electric company is just abusive. How long does it take them to restructure the infrastructure for "better efficiency"? They tick me off constantly turning off the power, and they do intentionaly turn off here in Jobos, Isabela to make believe they are working on it. Is it incompetence or money not being put into the system by the powers that be. I am disgusted how the electric company abuses their powers consistently. They have no excuses as far as I am concerned. PR does not deserve the business or home buyers that might show some interest because of the lousy grid system. Get with the program PR! Don't expect anyone to want to settle here with your shabby and inexcusable electrical offerings. I really wish there was a way to be more proactive and confront these companies to tell them that we have had enough of this aggravating crap.I'm mad as hell and I really don't want to take it anymore!