The Piaggo Ape vehicle which will be used for GrabTrike Premium in Bohol features a Euro-4 compliant engine and can accommodate four to six persons.

Grab trike

(Image taken from Rappler.com)

More than 100 modern Piaggo Ape units, three-wheeled vehicles with a similar design as the traditional motorela, will soon ply the streets of Tagbilaran City, Dauis and Panglao and offer ride-hailing services to the public.

The premium tricycle service will be offered through GrabTrike which is set to be launched in Bohol by ride-hailing giant Grab Philippines in March, said Jolly Aquino, assistant general manager of Tagbilaran-based Lockwheel Motors Corp., Grab’s exclusive Piaggo Ape dealer in the province.

According to Aquino, the Euro-4 compliant vehicle which will be used by GrabTrike Premium can accommodate four to six persons.

It has a reverse gear and a built-in chassis, features a regular tricycle does not have.

It runs on transmission and not on chains. It’s just like a 4-wheel vehicle, he said.

Grab will be partnering with local government units in rolling out the new service since tricycle franchises are under the supervision of LGUs.

The Tagbilaran City and Dauis governments have initially committed to make available 30 and 50 franchises, respectively. Panglao is also expected to provide more or less 50 franchises, Aquino said.

Minimum fare for the GrabTrike premium is also for approval by the LGU.

The Bohol Chronicle, February 3, 2019

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ERC orders refund due to overbilling in power payments

August 13, 2019August 13, 2019
Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) Commissioner Josefina Patricia Magpale-Asirit, for and by the authority of the commission ordered the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) and its Market Operator (MO), Independent Electric Market Operators of the Philippines (IEMOP), to speed-up an adjustment refund to the distribution utilities (DUs) and to their respective consumers. The six-page order of the ERC promulgated on August 1, 2019 will put in place the refund after authorities traced to overbilling as the cause of the recent high power bills which shocked consumers during the past months. An estimated P2.90 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) slide in the monthly electricITY bills for the month of July is expected by more than 18,500 Bohol Light Company Inc. (BLCI) residential consumers following the ERC order for the PEMC to correct the mathematical formula that caused the overbilling. The adjustment will be implemented either through collection or refund for a period of not more that one year starting from the July 2019 billing period, according to the ERC order. The two other Distribution Utilities (DU’s) – Bohol Electric Cooperative (Boheco) 1 & II is still in the process of recomputing their respective July monthly bills. For the month of July, the BLCI per kilowatt-hour rate is estimated at P9.03 compared to the June billing of P11.95. The Provincial Government of Bohol (PGB) led by Governor Art Yap and 1st District Congressman Edgar Chatto together with the General Managers of the three DU’s wangled from the PEMC a temporary rate reduction of June electricity bills between P0.97 centavos/kwh and P1.29/kwh on July 11, 2019. Overbilling ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Atty. Agnes VST Devanadera texted Governor Art Yap and 1st District Congressman Edgar Chatto on Friday, August 2, 2019 that “we are coming out with the order on the overbilling and your and Gov. Art Yap names are prominently mentioned. It was a can of worms that we were able to uncover . . . Our people and our Commissioners stayed till 10 PM last night.’ The order covered only the formula used for the computation of the Net Settlement Surplus (NSS) and does not include the Line Loss and Congestion Charge (LLCC) which was blamed by the DU’s for the sudden spike of electricity rates in the province. An NSS exists if the total payment of customers exceeds the total payment to generation companies. The excess payments should immediately and equitably flow back to the DU’s and its customers who paid for the excess amount. Slimy formula The can of worms referred to by Devanadera was pried open after the Provincial Government of Bohol (PGB) practically put a stop to the ERC daily routine for two days – July 10 – 11, 2019, relentlessly badgering the Commissioners sitting en banc to resolve the mysterious manner electricity rates are implemented. The culprit was “overbilling” due to an “erroneous application of the Line Loss and Congestion Charge (LLCC) formula which is part of the computation for the Net Settlement Surplus (NSS) allocation by the PEMC to all its trading participants. PEMC is the governing body of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM), the centralized venue for trading electricity as a commodity. Software glitch As early as June 26, 2019, then-Governor Chatto raised the alarm before the ERC to urgently attend to the monthly escalation of electricity rates in Bohol after a series of emergency meetings with the Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group (BEDAG). Responding to the urgent appeal of the PGB, the ERC initiated a review of the trading settlement of the Bohol DU’s that led to the admission of a discovery of an error on the application of the line loss and congestion charge formula by the PEMC/IEMOP in its internally developed software. Earlier, Yap, just ten days into his three-year administration as Bohol Governor grappled with the puzzling computation of the PEMC during the two-day ERC en banc session on July 10 – 11, 2019 at the ERC conference hall that eventually was discovered as a billion-peso miscalculation. Yap vowed that ”although I practically understand only 2% of the whole power industry workings I will not allow that the Boholanos will take the hit because of the failure of some sectors of the industry.” Line loss is the loss of electricity while in transit from source to the recipient while line congestion occurs when power could not be transmitted due to a breach in the line capacity. According to the ERC, “simply put, the misapplication of “+” instead of “-” in the software resulted in the inaccurate computation of the NSS allocation reckoned from June 2018 to May 2019.” The ERC called the attention of PEMC after they found that Bohol’s NSS allocation was “inexplicably low” considering that the total amount of settlements to WESM reached P155 million for the month of May. Yap, during the meeting wryly pointed out that “in effect, we are subsidizing the whole grid.” Excess payment Upon review, Bohol consumers paid more to the generation companies (Genco’s) which should have been plowed back to the customers but the PEMC calculation allowed a higher allocation of the NSS to the Genco’s instead of the load customers who actually paid for the line losses and congestion charges, according to the ERC order. Generation Companies received a higher share of the Net Settlement Surplus (NSS) instead of the load customers who paid for the line losses and congestion. ERC Resolution No. 06, series of 2009 established a process for the immediate and equitable flow back of the NSS by the PEMC to the parties who paid for the same. Inaccurate computation The PEMC admitted that in the case of the three Bohol Distribution Utilities (DU’s) it applied an erroneous formula resulting in the “incorrect computation” of the low NSS allocation for Bohol including DU’s similarly situated. Using the corrected NSS allocation from the IEMOP, the ERC computed the NSS allocation adjustment amounting to P1.774 billion nationwide. The erroneous formula resulted in the “incorrect computation of the Net Settlement Surplus {NSS) allocation not only for Bohol but for the entire country from June 2018 to May 2019,” the MO admitted. As early as February 2018, the ERC promulgated Resolution No. 01, series of 2018 adopting the amendments to the rules for the distribution of NSS which the WESM market operator apparently missed out. According to the ERC the NSS allocation formula “ran contrary to the Commission’s rationale in promulgating the NSS rules which are to establish a suitable process for the immediate and equitable flow back of the NSS to the party who paid for the same.” The ERC resolution categorically states that only trading participants who have actually paid for the line losses and congestion payments shall be eligible to receive NSS allocation. Yap also did not agree with the payments imposed by WESM on line losses and congestion arguing that “why are we made to pay for line losses when we did not receive the right amount of electricity that we need even as we are also penalized for not using the lines because of congestion.” The ERC also directed PEMC and IEMOP to execute an attestation as to the truthfulness and accuracy of its NSS review containing the breakdown of the NSS adjustments of DU’s and non-DU’s for the period June 2018 to May 2019. The battle for cheaper electricity rates is far from over but the resolve showed that LGU’s despite their limitations can play a major role in protecting the interests of their constituents. (Chito M. Visarra)

Bohol power rates to go down in July

August 13, 2019
MANILA – A power rate reduction of P0.97 centavos to P1.29 per kilowatt hour (kwh) will reflect in electricity billings in the forthcoming months starting July after Governor Arthur Yap successfully wangled an agreement warranting a “downward adjustment” of the monthly electricity bills of more than half a million Bohol-based electricity consumers as a result of two days of intense and complex negotiations with the major pillars of the Philippine power industry. This will be implemented by the three power distributors, namely Bohol Light Co., Inc.(BLCI), Bohol Electric Cooperative (Boheco) I and Boheco II whose power consumers protested on the recent hike in power rates. Yap vowed that “although I practically understand only two percent of the whole power industry workings I will not allow that the Boholanos will take the hit because of the failure of some sectors of the industry.” The marathon hearing was held on July 10 to 11, 2019 at the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) conference room in Ortigas Center, Pasig City, Metro Manila and was exclusively covered by the Chronicle.

Power costs

The immediate effect of the negotiations will be felt by the BOHECO 1 consumers after its Board of Directors approved yesterday the effective rates inclusive of VAT for residential consumers for July at P10.5404/kwh (kilowatt hour) from a June billing of P11.5066/kwh.

BLCI consumers will pay P11.93/kwh for July from P13.22/kwh in June.

As of press time, Boheco II is still in the process of recomputing the July billing for its consumers.

Net surplus, a term used by the Wholesale Electric Spot Market (WESM) to define reimbursements for excess charges will be plowed back to consumers in the succeeding months after the WESM completes its review of their formula.

Big brother

Chatto played quarterback to Yap using his nine-year stint as governor of Bohol when the Bohol Energy Development Advisory Group (BEDAG) was created to oversee the power development of Bohol.

The former governor’s presence guided Yap to bulldoze his way against a wall of structural obstacles that eventually blew holes and elicited an admission from the WESM on the need to “humanize” equations and methods that disregarded the “equitable protection and promotion of the interests of the consumer.”

WESM is a venue for trading electricity and was created by virtue of Republic Act (RA) 9136 otherwise known as the “Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001 (EPIRA).”

Unfair

In an exclusive interview with the Chronicle, ERC Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Atty. Agnes VST Devanadera expressed her consternation over what she called as an “iniquitous” imposition of charges by WESM on the distribution utilities which passes on the extra charges to the consumers as mandated by the  EPIRA.

“This is the first time that the ERC suspended its daily work schedule because of a concern brought by a Local Government Unit over steep electricity rates. But this is an eye-opener because as I have always stressed that we must not lose sight of the most basic principle of public service: we must put people first,” she said.

Faulty structure

In a face-off with the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC), WESM, and the Independent Electric Market Operators of the Philippines (IEMOP) Yap refused to be cowed by the mathematical and technical maze that was arrayed before him but remained firm in his position that Bohol consumers should not be penalized because of an “inequitable formula.”

PEMC is the governing body of WESM with recommendatory powers over market rules modifications and improvements while the IEMOP is the independent market operator of the WESM.

At one point, Yap chided the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) for its reluctance to upgrade the submarine cable from Leyte to Bohol for economic reasons even if as early as 2014 the Bohol distribution utilities  (DU’s) made known that the power demand for Bohol will reach more than 90% in 2019.

But the NGCP explained that they were caught flatfooted by the sudden rise of power demand in Bohol in the month of May that reached 93 megawatts (MW) which breached tha 85MW load limit of the Leyte-Bohol submarine cable.

On the line rental issue which was blamed by the DU’s on the high electric rates, Yap refused to accept the mathematical exposition of WESM relying on a more simplistic and common sense approach.

“If there was line congestion and our power was drawn from the Power Barge 104 stationed in Ubay why are we made to pay for line rentals when our main source from Leyte and Cebu could not enter the submarine cable because of congestion?”

Poor regulation

Yap also raised the issue of including the bilateral contracts of DU’s in the computation of charges when only 8MW was needed to cover the shortfall. The governor stuck to his position that only the 8MW should be charged and exclude the existing bilateral contracts of the DU’s in the calculation of line rentals.

The formula for line losses which is defined as power lost during transmission should also be reviewed since it is a pass-on charge to the consumers.

“If I order 15 hamburgers and I only received five, why would I pay for the undelivered 10?” reasoned Yap

Less spot market

The discussion also brought to the attention of the ERC the 45% reliance of the DU’s of their power supply from the WESM prompting Devanadera to label it as an “aberration.”

Relying heavily on the WESM for shortfalls in supply from their bilateral contracts are not advantageous to the consumers since “spot” prices are dictated by the demand-supply situation on an hourly basis.

WESM is a market that allows generation companies to sell excess capacities not covered by bilateral contracts while those experiencing shortfalls source outside their contracts relies on the electricity spot market.

Speed up Cebu-Bohol connect

Chatto also requested the ERC to approve the application to use the uncontracted 7 MW of the 24 MW Power Barge 104 owned by Salcon in case of supply gaps to lessen dependence on the WESM.

Chatto pushed for the fast-tracking of the Cebu-Bohol interconnection to relieve pressure on the Leyte-Ubay cable which is now past its time table.

The need for more reforms in the electric power industry should be sustained with the “unprecedented”  Bohol meeting with the ERC as Bohol successfully cut through the labyrinthine world of the electric power industry.

The Bohol Chronicle

Arthur Yap proclaimed as governor-elect of Bohol

August 13, 2019
The Provincial Board of Canvassers (PBOC) proclaimed Thursday morning Arthur Yap as governor-elect of Bohol province in a hairline victory against former Cabinet Secretary Leoncio Evasco Jr. Lawyer Eddie Aba, chair of Bohol’s PBOC, said Yap won with a narrow lead of 2,161 after garnering 326,895 votes against Evasco’s 324,734 in the final official count. The proclamation of the duly-elected governor was stalled by delays in canvassing of votes in the towns of Sagbayan, Panglao, and Tubigon because of damaged Secure Digital (SD) cards. Aba said the Commission on Elections (Comelec) in Bohol had to ship the SD cards to Cebu to be repaired. “I thank the Boholanos for giving me the opportunity to serve them,” Yap was quoted in a radio interview as saying after the canvassing of election results. Earlier, Evasco vowed to file a petition to declare a failure of election in Bohol allegedly due to “massive vote buying” and fraud in the polls, which Yap quickly dismissed. “All that changed later in the day, however, as I was starting to be appraised of the magnitude of election irregularities particularly vote-buying. I realized that I will not be the only victim,” said Evasco in the official statement released a day after the mid-term polls. He said that he “cannot abandon the thousands who packed our rallies, those who declined the proverbial thirty pieces of silver because they placed their hope in a band of men and women they believed would lead Bohol into a new dawn”. “It is for all of them that I finally arrived at this difficult decision to instruct the Nationalist People’s Coalition-Bohol and Hugpong ng Pagbabago-Bohol to make preparations for the filing of a petition to declare a failure of elections,” Evasco's statement added. Yap, for his part, said “there is no failure of elections”. His running mate, Rene Relampagos, was declared the vice governor-elect of Bohol due to a wide margin over his rival candidate, Tommy Abapo. Relampagos got 317,318 votes as against Abapo’s 263,910. Yap was one of the youngest officials to be appointed to the Cabinet by then President Gloria Arroyo in August 2004. He ran for Bohol governor under the Partido Demokratiko-Pilipino (PDP-Laban) while Evasco was under the National People’s Coalition (NPC). (PNA)

NEW BOHOL AIRPORT

March 6, 2016March 6, 2016
NO NEED FOR NEW PIER FOR EQUIPMENTS; AIRPORT TO START NEXT MONTH It is now final and official. There is no more need for a temporary seaport in bringing in heavy equipments needed in the construction of the New Bohol Airport in Panglao. This development surfaced after the main contractor, Chiyoda Mitsubishi Joint Venture ( CMJV), a Japanese consortium and sub-contractor EEI Corp. agreed to the “night shift” policy suggested by Gov, Edgar Chatto amid the controversy arising from the rumored plan to construct a temporary pier in barangay Tangan, Panglao town. The suggestion of the governor which seems adopted by the contractors was part of last Sunday’s editorial of The Chronicle. Meanwhile, the new Bohol Airport will officially commence its construction next month. Only recently, the controversial plan for a temporary pier generated strong public opposition citing the environmental destruction it brings in the area. Hauling and transport by heavy equipment of the materials for the 30-month construction of the new Bohol airport will be done nightly until early morning to avoid likely heavy traffic never seen here before. Last Wednesday, Gov. Chatto witnessed the Manila signing between the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the consortium of the deal for the construction of the airport on Panglao island. DOTC Sec. Joseph Emilio Abaya led the signing together with Associate Director and Deputy Division Director Tadayoshi Kimura of Business Development Division of the Chiyoda Corp. and Deputy General Manager and Division Head Masahito Nonaka of the Global Environment & Infrastructure Business Division of the Mitsubishi Corp. Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Chief Representative to the Philippines Noriaki Niwa and Project Formulation Advisor Shimizu Toshihiro of JICA Economic Growth Section also witnessed the sealing, which paves the start of the construction. “Construction will start in June. We appreciate if the airport can be done in one-and-a-half year,” Chatto quoted Abaya as saying during the signing, although the construction from start to finish takes 30 months per contract. In the coordination conference here, the local Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) assured of berthing spaces at the Tagbilaran City port for vessels that carry the equipment and construction materials. Not just the traffic on city roads identified for routes of the equipment and materials to Panglao prosite, port congestion itself is expected to heighten considering the unusual frequent volume loading, hauling and transport. The contractor agreed to haul and transport—at 75 trips daily—during night time, preferably from midnight to six in the morning (6am) when roads are usually not or less used. City traffic is back to busy with the opening of classes in June. The local Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) said the bridges along the identified hauling routes from the city to construction site can contain the weight of the loaded equipment with strict regulation observed. As the city port is still undergoing rehabilitation after the earthquake, the port in Alburquerque has been eyed for alternate docking of barges loaded with heavy equipment and construction materials. But according to the PPA, the town port has also been damaged by the earthquake and its repair could cost some P20 million. While the airport contractor is willing to help rehabilitate the port, the entire work is estimated to consume eight months. Rep. Rene Relampagos, who also attended the coordination meeting, agreed with the governor that securing the funding for repair and the process through which project procurement undergoes before the actual concrete works are a different story that also takes time. The First District solon could not attend the Manila signing last Wednesday because of a meeting of the congressional tourism committee which he chairs. The peak period of airport construction is expected to start from the third week of September this year until the middle of February in 2017. Every week within this period, an average of three vessels arrive at the port, loaded with an average volume of almost 6,000 metric tons of materials and requiring 425 truck loads en route to construction site. FREQUENT COORDINATION Chatto and Relampagos would want as shorter interval of regular coordination meetings as possible so that the expected concerns which may hinder fast implementation could get addressed. It is likewise a proactive system to ready measures or policy guidelines for other possible yet unforeseen problems as construction progresses, they said. The Local Project Management Team (LPMT) handled by Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio has been focused on all concerns within its mandate and capacity surrounding the gigantic undertaking. The team presented updates on varied concerns during the coordination meeting, which was also attended by Panglao Mayor Leonila Montero. These concerns include the rerouting of existing Panglao barangay roads that traverse the airport site and have to be closed and cut once construction starts or possible opening of new access roads. Yesterday, Chatto and Relampagos led the signing of the deed of transfer of the resettlement for the project-affected families (PAFs) right at their finished relocation site, which negotiation, preparation, construction, supervision, monitoring and completion had the LMPT at the painstaking front. 11th BUSIEST Once done by the middle or final quarter of 2017, although some say early 2018 is the safest projection, the Panglao airport will replace the Tagbilaran City flight terminal as the 11th busiest airport in the country. Ten times bigger than the city airport, it is foreseen to accommodate 1.7 million air passengers annually, although Chatto and Relampagos is already moving this early to secure support for its expansion in the future. Officially, the project is billed the New Bohol Airport Construction and Sustainable Environment Protection Project (NBACSEPP), said to be the first ever package deal assisted by JICA in the country. The airport has been designed to be the Philippines ’ “first world-class eco-friendly, green airport.” (Ven rebo Arigo) The Bohol Chronicle May 31, 2015