Tuko causes power outage in Romblon towns

A power interruption occurred in the areas of Sta. Maria and San Agustin in Tablas Island, Romblon at 6:20 PM, last November 24. The culprit? A gecko, otherwise known in Filipino as a tuko.

According to power provider Tablas Island Electric Cooperative, Inc. (TIELCO), a gecko was found at an electric pole at Brgy. Binoongan, San Agustin after conducting a line tracing activity due to a line fault in the area. They concluded that the gecko was the cause of the line fault. Power was then restored at 7:15 PM.

This was not the first time that TIELCO declared a gecko to be behind a power interruption in Tablas. On November 21, they found an electrocuted gecko in the feeder lines, which they believed to have caused the brownout in different areas, including Sta. Maria Poblacion, Tabok, Bachawan, Sawang, and Lusong.

Even before that, last February 1, TIELCO also declared the cause of a line fault in the feeder lines to be caused by a gecko on an electric pole.

TIELCO explained that geckos were not the only frequently reported causes of power outages in the area, including other animals and even other plants.

Hindi l[a]ng tuko ang nagiging sanhi ng line faults[. M]erong din umaakyat na ahas, at paniki. Kadalasan ding sanhi ng line fault ay mga palapa ng niyog na sumasabit sa linya, mga sanga ng kahoy, puno ng kawayan na nabubuwal sa linya,” the company explained to the Perspective in a Facebook message.

True to this claim, only a day prior to the second gecko-related incident, at 11:19 PM, the entire Tablas Island lost power, with TIELCO pinpointing the cause to be a palm leaf that fell on the power provider’s primary distribution line. Electricity was immediately restored that time, however.

Shocking revelations

Some netizens responded humorously to the power interruption, fearing that San Agustin will eventually run out of geckos due to the frequent occurrences of brownout in the area.

“Nakakalungkot naman isipin na malapit na maubos tuko sa Romblon dahil bata pa ako laging brownout na [diyan],” netizen Archie Gallamoza Morales commented on the Romblon News Network’s repost of TIELCO’s announcement.

Another netizen, Angela Miñeque Galos, explained that geckos were seeking warmth, explaining how they were found within the power lines.

“Geckos /tuko [sic] can also be the cause of big problems if they get into places they shouldn’t be, like your home’s electrical systems. Those tiny reptiles love to find warm, dark, humid places to hide, sleep away the day and breed,” Galos said.

While other netizens were not amused by the news, suspecting that geckos are being used as an excuse for the frequent power interruptions experienced under TIELCO’s service, the company explained that it was highly plausible for geckos to cause power interruptions, which happens when their bodies stick to the steel poles and live wires. 

Inaakyat po nila ang main line. ‘Pag nasa live wire na sila, nag-cause ng line fault ‘pag nakadikit body nila sa steel pole at sa live wire,” TIELCO said.

When asked if incidents like these could be avoided, TIELCO responded that it is possible if property owners allow the cutting of trees and vegetation that are within 3.5 meters from both sides of the power corridor that may obstruct the power lines.

Alam niyo naman po ang sitwasyon sa mga electric cooperatives especially sa islands[. A]ng distribution line namin ay bare wire ang ginagamit at kadamihan ay nakatayo sa mga lugar na ma[r]aming vegetation,” the company said, explaining the challenges they faced in distributing power in the area. [P]

Photo from TIELCO, Inc. / Facebook

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