The agony of waiting for Meralco linemen

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Emeterio Sd. Perez

Emeterio Sd. Perez

A VAN that was easily identifiable as a service vehicle of the Manila Electric Co. arrived at 1:42 p.m. on Saturday. Two men alighted from it, eyed the thick electric wires at the post beside the concrete fence. After two minutes, or maybe even shorter than two minutes, they knew the cause of the power interruption.
One of the two men placed a ladder against the post and then climbed it.
When he reached the top, he examined the wires, then decided to cut the two connectors linking the wires from a higher pole to our house and replaced them with new ones. Having completed the reconnections, one of the men told me to test the switches in the house.
I did as told. Presto! Electricity was back. The two Meralco men left at 1:52 pm.
Yes, it took them only 10 minutes to restore Meralco’s power supply to our house while the agony of waiting for them lasted us 16 hours. The long wait for Meralco’s service started from the time our neighbors had theirs 16 hours earlier after Typhoon Glenda had left Laguna.

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Do Meralco people respond to calls for help even thru text messages sent to them via the more convenient mobile phones? I decided to try Meralco’s efficiency by texting a company insider.
“Good p.m.” I said, as I greeted him in my first message at 10:26 p.m. on July 18. “Our house here at Santarosa Estate 1A has no electricity. Our neighbors must be very lucky.”
The man manning the post immediately responded. “Saan po ito, Sir (Where is this, Sir)?” He sounded he did not know me at all. Good for me, I thought.
Then he followed it up with another query: “Ano’ng street po ito? (What street is this?)” Instead of giving the name of the street where we live, I gave him our home address: “Santarosa Estate 1 Annex, Santa Rosa City.”
Then I told him Meralco has restored service to most households in the subdivision but left ours out. “I pity my bedridden father-in-law who survives only on medical oxygen. He is suffering without air-con.”

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The air-conditioning unit inside the room where the 90-year-old man lies on a hospital bed runs 24 hours a day to ease his pain. At his age, he could go anytime, why not give him the best?
Then I added: “Two nurses are on watch 24 hours a day.”
“Can I ask our coordinator to call u po in case they need addtl details?” the Meralco insider suggested.
I agreed. After all, there was nothing confidential in what we were talking about. If “full disclosure” would facilitate the service, why not give Meralco all information available?

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I did not sleep the night of July 18 while waiting for Meralco people. But I was disappointed because no one came that night. The company’s field men must be very busy.
“No action yet.” I sent this message to the Meralco insider at 9:15 a.m. on July 19. “Meanwhile, the old man over 90 years old continues to suffer.”
The Meralco man assured me he would follow up my requests for special consideration for the nonagenarian member of the family. I thanked him for answering my text messages.
Finally, when the Meralco linemen came, I texted the insider: “Meralco vehicle with plate # NIP449 arrived at 1:42 p.m. with two personnel.
“One of them placed a ladder against the post, climbed it and did the repair by cutting two connectors and replaced them with new ones. He went down the ladder and put it back inside the van. I thanked them and soon they left for other areas. It was 1:43 pm.”
This text message had a glaring typographical error. The Meralco men left at 1:52 p.m. and not 1:43 pm.” If 10 minutes of public service could be described as efficient, then one minute of doing the difficult task of restoring power supply could only be impossible.
The Meralco insider texted back. “Emi am glad nakabalik na power txt na lang sir on any concern tnx.” Now he knew who I was. I must have slipped in some of my text messages.

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In the meantime, something must be told of how Meralco’s field men work truly hard to bring back electricity to every household that had lost it. They risk their lives in providing public service when this is most needed, which usually comes in times of crisis.
And Glenda had created one that requires Meralco linemen to be alert and readily available on call 24 hours a day.
I could only briefly thank Meralco’s two personnel, who were in a hurry to leave to attend to so many more that have called for help. I learned from them about the complaints coming from residents living in nearby Santa Elena subdivision who, I presumed, had yet to see a Meralco lineman two days after Glenda had uprooted trees and destroyed houses in Laguna, one of the provinces in Southern Luzon to have been placed under Signal No. 3.
I am grateful the Meralco linemen had come to our rescue. Now the two nurses could use the two gadgets without the use of a generator. The timely arrival, though late, of the Meralco linemen has saved the old man.
(Due Diligencer emailed this piece thru the courtesy of Ilog ni Maria, Silang, Cavite City)

esdperez@gmail.com

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