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Electricity Dependence – A Fresh Reminder


February 21, 2015

Brownouts are a fact of life in the Philippines. Some people call them blackouts, but the word “blackout” is also used for things other than electricity outages. A brownout is specific to electricity. Anyway, not only are brownouts common in the Philippines, they’re scheduled. Yesterday is an example. The entire grid for the island of Luzon (the island I’m on) was shut down for 10 hours. They never tell us why they’re shutting down. They just announce it and then do it, usually notifying us only a few hours in advance.

Electricity Dependence

You don’t realize how much of your life depends on electricity until you don’t have it available. We depend on more of it now because of wireless devices.

My relatives (those living in the compound) were complaining once their mobile phones and tablets ran out of juice, but that part of the equation didn’t bother me at all. I have two laptop computers and they were both fully charged. I listed to music for six of those 10 hours.

I was still limited, of course. I couldn’t sit in the comfort of the master bedroom and do anything at all. Without electricity, I have no air conditioning and I have no Internet connection. The master bedroom is like a sauna around midday without the air conditioner working. Since I have a Wi-Fi router, air conditioning is the only reason I spend any time at all in the master bedroom these days (other than when I’m sleeping).


Internet Data

I obviously use my Wi-Fi router for my Internet connection. It’s what everyone in the compound uses as the data connections for their mobile phones, tablets and laptop computers (only one laptop computer isn’t mine). Even if everyone is using that connection at the same time, I can still do what I need to do on the net.

My mobile phone service provider gives me 100 MB of data every month (that I never use). Well, I used about 20 megs of it yesterday and I wasn’t impressed. LTE wireless isn’t available in this specific area of Olongapo and 3G wireless is incredibly slow. If I had access to LTE, I wouldn’t bother with any other Internet connection but life likes to hand me lemons like that on a regular basis.

With my luck, I’ll get access to LTE wireless in my area around the same time that brownouts stop occurring. In other words, it’ll never happen. There’s only one tower providing any kind of wireless access to this area and I seriously doubt they’ll ever add another.

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