A brownout is an intentional or unintentional drop in voltage in an electrical power supply system. Intentional brownouts are used for load reduction in an emergency. The reduction lasts for minutes or hours, as opposed to short-term voltage sag (or dip). The term brownout comes from the dimming experienced by lighting when the voltage sags. A voltage reduction may be an effect of disruption of an electrical grid, or may occasionally be imposed in an effort to reduce load and prevent a power outage, known as a blackout.
Above definition is from Wikipedia and is true for the whole planet. No, there is a group of islands in the north-western Pacific, where people call any hard blackout a brownout. This strange group of islands is called the Philippines.
Last week the whole island of Mindanao with about 21 Million people living there sat in the dark (read here). And now the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) announces that from tomorrow during peak hours (6-9 p.m.), there would be two to three hour rotating blackouts over Mindanao areas. Nice!
The brownouts are due to the technical inspections on the 210-MW STEAG power plant. At least NGCP now informs about the situation.
And it could even become worse. We are approaching summer when the water levels in the lakes and reservoirs in Mindanao are decreasing. Currently we still have a very slight La Niña trend. When these trend swaps over to El Niño, then it will get really very black in Mindanao. (See also El Niño and La Niña).
If you do not read news from Silent Gardens in the next weeks, then please don’t think that we are a lazy bunch spending the whole day at the beach. We simply won’t have access to the Internet.
And a last question: Who is worse CAAP or NGCP? The problems are now known over years like the CAAP Cat.2 disaster, but nobody does nothing. As usual there are lots of nice talks, but action is word not existing in Philippines government.
If you want to know more, we recommend to read the article of the Philippine Information Agency