Tangled kites causing power outages in hospitals, says Meralco

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) appealed to the public not to fly kites close to power lines, as this has caused blackouts in hospitals during the coronavirus crisis.

Meralco said that from March 16 to April 15, there were 47 "unnecessary power interruptions" caused by kites and other foreign objects. These outages affected 708,805 customers, 13 of which are hospitals and medical facilities.

Several barangays in Quezon City, Bulacan, Valenzuela City, Caloocan City, Tondo in Manila, Marikina City, Angono in Rizal, Parañaque City, and Taguig City have experienced tripped power due to foreign objects getting entangled in power lines.

"Nakikiusap po ako sa ating mga kababayan, huwag na po muna tayong magpalipad ng saranggola. Hindi po ito nakakatulong bagkus ay nakakaperwisyo po ito, hindi lamang po sa amin sa Meralco, higit sa lahat sa taumbayan na umaasa sa patuloy na serbisyo ng Meralco, lalo na 'yung mga vital facilities tulad ng ospital," said Meralco spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga.

(I am appealing to our countrymen to refrain from flying kites. It doesn't help, instead it's causing problems not just for us at Meralco, but more importantly for the people who are depending on Meralco's continued services, especially vital facilities like hospitals.)

Meralco said some 260 kites are retrieved per day despite the enhanced community quarantine in Luzon.

The power distributor reminded the public that kite flying can also lead to electrocution, as high voltage electricity can travel down kite strings.

"When Meralco linemen are forced to make line repairs in areas of high COVID-19 incidence, they may be exposed to the virus and inadvertently spreading an infection wherever else they go," Meralco said. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.