The Manila Electric Company (Meralco) is appealing to the public to refrain from flying kites close to power lines as entanglements are causing blackouts to hospitals performing critical work during the COVID-19 crisis.

Besides kites, other foreign objects such as posters, clothing, and building materials, are also getting entangled.

“Let’s refrain from doing that [kite-flying]. 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 ng taumbayan na umaasa sa patuloy na serbisyo ng Meralco, lalo na yung mga vital facilities tulad ng hospital. (Let’s refrain from doing that [kite flying.] I am requesting our countrymen to refrain from flying kites. It does not 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,) said Meralco Public Information Head and Spokesperson Joe Zaldarriaga.

From March 16 to April 15, 47 unnecessary power interruptions caused by kites and foreign objects have affected 708,805 customers – 13 of which are frontline hospitals and medical facilities.

As of writing, several barangays in Quezon City, Bulacan, Valenzuela, Caloocan, Tondo, Marikina, Angono, Paranaque and Taguig have experienced power trips due to foreign objects’ entanglement in power lines.

The power utility regularly informs customers about the problems caused by line entanglements all the way down to the barangay level.

But a reported 260 kites per day are still being retrieved from power lines since the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) measures were implemented; with power interruptions due to the entanglements rising significantly this April.

In addition to accidentally cutting power from COVID-19 treatment facilities, the distribution utility would like to remind everyone that the seemingly harmless summer pastime can also lead to electrocution as high voltage electricity can travel down kite strings.

Not only that. 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 is urging everyone to pitch in and help keep each other safe by staying home.

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