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Outages turning Zambo into ‘junk’ city


APPLIANCES, such as these piled atop each other in a repair shop in Zamboanga City, are no match for frequent brownouts in the city and elsewhere in Mindanao. JULIE ALIPALA/INQUIRER MINDANAO

ZAMBOANGA CITY—Frequent power outages in this city are taking their toll on household appliances, with their owners being left with only two choices—throw them away or spend more for repairs.

Dennis Casas, an appliance repairman, said the city could turn into a big junkyard of busted appliances if the power situation does not improve soon.

Casas said, though, that his business is booming, as the outages are rapidly destroying appliances, forcing their owners to bring them in for repair.

He said he used to accept only up to four repair jobs a day before the outages started to wreak havoc on appliances.

Now, he said, up to 10 repair jobs come in, forcing him to close shop late.

“I have to turn away many owners because their units are beyond repair,” said Casas.

Many of the damaged appliances are TV sets with busted integrated circuits that exploded due to power surges, he said.

Casas, however, can’t repair appliances as quickly as he wants to. The problem? Brownouts.

“A lot of items for repair remain untouched because there is no electricity when we need it most,” he said.

The situation in Casas’ shop is similar to that of Renato Advincula’s.

Advincula, who has been repairing air conditioning units and refrigerators for years now, said he and his helpers have had their hands full since the start of the outages.

Most of the appliances being brought to Advincula’s shop also suffered damages as a result of brownouts or sudden power surges.

Advincula agreed with Casas’ view that the outages could turn the city into a big junkyard of appliances.

“Look at the back of my house and you will see what I mean,” said Advincula, pointing to piles of damaged appliances at the back of his house that are beyond repair.

Businesses are taking a big hit, too.

Mike Rasuman, a barter trader, said the outages are keeping customers out of Canelar Trading Center.

“When you are inside the trading center during a brownout, it would be too dark for you to even navigate the pathways,” said Rasuman.

“That’s why people stay away,” he said. “We do not sell well these days,” he added.

Pedro Rufo Soliven, manager of Mindoro Citimall, said the mall is forced to tap electricity from generators that are expensive to operate.With reports from Ryan Rosauro and Allan Nawal, Inquirer Mindanao

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Tags: appliances , Brownout , Business , Economy , Mindanao

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