RT Cunningham


Brownouts (or Blackouts) are a Fact of Life in the Philippines

brownouts Brownouts (also called blackouts) are a fact of life in the Philippines. Some municipalities have less than others, but no one escapes them. Where I live, in Olongapo, things are better now than a few years ago.

Things got a lot better when a private company replaced the government-owned electric company. Since then, we’ve had entire months without losing electricity. In most cases, when we do, it’s only for an hour or so.

Brownouts and the Heat

The heat and humidity can take a toll on anyone who isn’t yet used to the climate. I’ve spent more than a decade here and I still can’t handle it for long during the summer (March to May).

I suffered immensely in 2006 when we had one of the longest brownouts I can remember. It was 27 hours and it was during the summer.

I don’t suffer as much today. I try to spend as much time outdoors as I can, just so it won’t affect me so much when I can’t cool down.

Brownouts and Computers

Computers and WiFi connections for mobile phones obviously don’t work without electricity to power them. I can live without a WiFi connection, but not being able to connect to the Internet when I have nothing else to do is torture.

I bought an uninterruptible power supply (APC) for a desktop computer a few years ago but I don’t need it now. I’ve been using laptops since 2013 and they, of course, come with batteries.

Nighttime Brownouts

Luckily, most brownouts occur during the daylight hours. It’s difficult to sleep when it’s hot. I only need an electric fan during the cooler months but even that won’t work during the summer months. That’s why I have a split-type air conditioner in my bedroom.

I won’t get much sleep anyway. The local thieves like to break into homes during nighttime brownouts and in the wee hours when it rains a lot.

Brownouts in the United States

I lived in Phoenix, Arizona for 14 years. In all that time, I only had to deal with one brownout for a couple of hours. That one occurred when a microburst downed some power lines.

If city electric companies started behaving like the electric companies in the Philippines behave, some people would get lynched. It seems like we rely on electricity for almost everything.

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By RT Cunningham
March 29, 2017