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When power outages become more frequent




Solarizing By Jeffrey Voacolo

Nowadays, it’s a shame that people just shrug their shoulders when a blackout occurs as if this is a normal thing.


Unfortunately, this occurrence is becoming more and more commonplace.

But blackouts cause problems that can’t be shrugged off. They disrupt all energy spectrums: power, water, and communications. If you’re lucky enough to have a battery backup, then you’re covered. I used to say, “If you’re lucky enough to have a generator, you’re covered.” But given the spiraling oil prices, who wants to have their genset burning fossil fuel at today’s cost.

In recent weeks, we had to close our business twice, prompting us to send employees home and resulting in a loss of income.

Blackouts disrupt the operations of businesses, grocery stores, ATMs, gas stations and most of our domestic tasks. In recent weeks, we had to close our business twice, prompting us to send employees home and resulting in a loss of income. We have no energy security on island with centralized power.

Blackouts lead to food being spoiled and water getting contaminated. The elderly on medical devices with no battery backup must pray for the power to come back on immediately.


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The utility agency recently said these rolling blackouts will be more prevalent in the next few years. Such a scenario has far-reaching complications that can’t be dismissed with a shoulder shrug.


In any business, there are two major components that will enable a company to make it or break it.


First, being progressive in your planning. To me this is the most vital. Plan out and replan every liability that you can foresee in the future of your business. Plan the pathway to be successful in every department and aspect of your business.


The second component is managing your business. It’s common sense—if you mismanage your business, you will not be around very long. It takes a lot of work to correctly employ the number of people to manage every department, including the correct hiring of your labor force in relation to the product you sell and the revenue you are projecting for your business.


Trying to keep up with trends in the makeup of the product you sell, price increases, shortages and the global impact of the product needed to sell this product for future revenue are also all part of building and sustaining a successful business.


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In the private sector, it is very hard to just raise prices and have customers get on the buying bus. In a public entity, it’s easier to increase rates while having the community just swallow the increase. Rates are going up with no discussion on how this private-sector business will be managed better. Raising rates does not justify managing a business for profitability.


By the end of this year, power rates will be unmanageable for the majority of the public. And, without anyone really noticing, water rates will increase just as quickly. Soon, more than half of your paycheck will go toward utilities.


In an island community, how can the average person survive when 40 percent of the average person’s income is spent on energy, whether for electricity at home or gas for transportation. This is not only unsustainable but unhealthy for this island.


Centralized power may have worked 20 years ago, but not now. With the technology of renewable energy coupled with many funding programs, having your own power system is the only way to become sustainable and rightsize your finances.


You now have the option to become your own manager of the energy you use. Rely on yourself and the sun to become truly sustainable.


Jeffrey Voacolo is the vice president and chief operations officer of Generation Renewable Inc. Send feedback to jvoacolo@micronesiarenewableenergy.com



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