E-trikes loan halted

See these news reports about this weird “more tricycles to save the planet” ADB loan.

e-trikes

From the MB report,

“For the e-trike, I already cancelled the loan – supposedly the funding for 100,000 e-trikes. But for the 3,000 units, since bidding was done and units were already produced by the winning supplier, we’ll go ahead with that – so the canceled loan portion should just be for the 97,000 units,” he explained.

The energy department, under the past administration, had just been looking at a price point of R150,000 to R200,000 per e-trike, but unfortunately, the cost subsequently swelled to R250,000 per unit.

From Malaya ‘ too expensive’ report,

Last February, Bemac Electric Transportation Philippines Inc., a unit of Uzushio Electric Co. of Japan won the contract to build 3,000 electric trikes worth $30 million.

An e-trike costs $10,000 or P500,000 half of which is the cost of battery.

Ordinary tricycles cost from as low as P60,000 for second-hand units and upward from P150,000 for the better quality products.

The e-trike then costs three times more than the ordinary tricycle.

In comparison, new branded vehicles used in ferrying passengers start from P800,000 and they can be bought on instalment with low rates.

From Malaya ‘scaled down’ report,

This time, the e-trike project would involve only 3,000 units of e-trikes from the original plan of  100,000 and the cost is significantly slashed from P21.672 billion to P1.73 billion.

The e-trike project was part of the original $504 million e-vehicle project plan jointly funded by the ADB, the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) and the government as part of efforts to jumpstart the energy-efficient electric vehicles industry in the country by producing 100,000 units of electric vehicles.

From the $504 million, ADB was supposed to shoulder $300 million while CTF will provide $105 million and the remaining $99 million from the government.

From Philstar report,

In an annual audit report recently published on its website, the COA stated that as of Dec. 31, 2016, only P77,791,419.85 or 0.35 percent of the total project cost of P21.672 billion ($504 million) has been disbursed.

Of this disbursed amount, only P14,398,023.17 was allocated for project implementation activities, while P63,393,396.68 was for the payment of commitment charges and interests incurred due to the project’s delayed implementation.

The COA said the sustainability of the project is now “in jeopardy” as the cost per unit of the e-trikes has already increased from around P250,000 to currently around P455,000.

The COA pointed out that this would be “very costly for the local tricycle drivers who will be required to pay the same over a period of five years.”

In its reply letter, the DOE management informed the COA that the National Economic and Development Authority Investment Coordination Committee (NEDA-ICC) has approved the DOE’s request for the cancellation of at least $359.76 million worth of ADB loans for the E-Trike Project.

DOE Sec. Al Cusi made a good decision in cancelling a big portion of this very lousy, very costly project. We have to pay the commitment fee and save us nearly P21 B.

At P455k per e-trike, one cannot even go safely from QC to Las Pinas and back. If battery power runs out due to distance and traffic, there is nowhere to charge for at least 3 hours. Better buy a 2nd-hand car, good running condition with air-con, one can drive up to Baguio, Ilocos or Bicol and back safely.

This $400-M e-trikes loan to help ‘save the planet from fossil fuel’ is a stupid program. Its main function will only be to further expand institutional robbery via loans-then-taxes of Filipino taxpayers.

ACEF 2016, wind power in Asia

Yesterday, I attended the first of the 5-days “Asia Clean Energy Forum 2016” held at the ADB headquarters in Ortigas. Main sponsors are the ADB, USAID, Korea Energy Agency, and World Resources Institute. Plus eight other donors — DFAT-Australia, DECC-UK, MFA-Norway, MET-Spain, Canada, Japan, Sweden, and the Global CCS Institute. And dozens of partners.

I attended the deep dive technical workshop on Wind Power Development.

From a presentation by Iban Vendrell, Mott McDonald, Thailand. They have 40.5 GW of installed power capacity, wow. It’s only 16+ GW in the Philippines. But see the huge discrepancy in wind tariff vs retail tariff, peak and off-peak hours. Clear energy favoritism or cronyism.

From a presentation by Rakesh Goyal, Tetra Tech ES, India. They have 288.7 GW of installed power capacity. Good thing the price discrepancy between wind tariff and retail/wholesale tariff is zero, or minimal. But wind has various incentives that are not available to conventional energy sources.

This is a recurring claim or urban legend, that there is “convergence” or “grid parity” between RE and conventional power like coal and natural gas. Still far out, otherwise there will be no need for feed in tariff, priority dispatch to the grid, various fiscal and non-fiscal incentives and subsidies for RE.

From a presentation by Ishak Burhani Nasution of PLN, Indonesia. Coal share from 57% this year to decline to 50% by 2030. The shares of hydro, geothermal and LNG to rise.

From 2016 to 2025, they are adding 80.5 GW of new power capacity or an average of 8 GW a year. Of which 22.2 GW will be from old and new renewables, average of 2.2 GW a year.

From a presentation by DOE Assistant Secretary Marasigan, RE plans in the Philippines.

From a presentation by Mike Ellis of Deloitte Consulting, representing USAID’s Low Emission Energy Program in Vietnam. Vietnam plans a 129.5 GW power capacity by 2030, wow. Versus the PH’s target of only 23+ GW by 2030. And they are not giving special pricing favoritism to wind power, only some fiscal incentives.

Share of coal power in the energy mix to decline from 45 or 46% in 2020 to 43% by 2030.


They see various  hurdles in wind power development. Perhaps this an indirect statement of Vietnam’s government that they want to have a power capacity of dependable and reliable energy as big as possible, not from intermittent and unstable sources.

From a presentation by Angarag, Ministry of Energy of Mongolia. Wind tariff is 2x the overall retail and wholesale tariff plus fiscal incentives.

From a presentation by Ranjith Pathmasiri, SL Sustainable Energy, Sri Lanka. Wind tariff 14 cents, slightly higher than retail tariff of 10 cents.

During the open forum, I pointed out that many East Asian economies grew fast for 2-3 decades partly because of cheap electricity, so now we are moving towards expensive electricity, clear example of Thailand’s wind tariff. It should not be the case, Asia should retain its cheap energy, high and stable power supply policy. And that PH having the 2nd most expensive electricity prices in Asia next to Japan is unhealthy, now we added FIT, 4 centavos/kWh last year, 3x this year at 12.4 centavos/kWh.

ASec Marasigan replied that PH’s energy pricing is relatively market-based, no government subsidies vs many Asian policies of energy subsidies. Other speakers replied that RE is reaching grid parity with conventionals and so the price disparity should taper through time. I did not make a follow up question, there were other hands rising for the Q&A.

Electricity and development, data for Asia

1* This is my article for the March 2015 issue of Business 360, a monthly magazine published  in  Kathmandu, Nepal.
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Electricity and Development

When I was in Nepal for  one week in January this year, the lack of electricity was among  the most prominent issues that I  observed. Many road intersections have no  stoplights, all hotels have generator sets, many streets are dark at night, and so on.

The business potentials of Nepal are huge, with its unique geography and mountains tourism, and its young and big population. The need for more stable supply of electricity is evident.

Economies that use more machines and automation that run on extensive electricity have higher labor productivity and are generally richer.

Table 1.  Electric power consumption, kWh per capita

2Source: ADB, Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2014.

See the big jump in power use in just 21 years by Vietnam (10.9x increase), China (6.4x), Bangladesh (5.4x), Maldives (4.6x), Indonesia (4.1x) and Thailand (3.3x). The other countries have a simple doubling of use, or even flat lined, like the case of Mongolia.

In a paper produced by Samriddhi, The Prosperity Foundation in July 2014, they noted that huge power deficit of around 900 MW on average will persist in the short-term. There are transmission and distribution problems but the main explanation for such huge power deficit resulting in up to 18 hours a day of brownouts during winter, is the low capacity of power plants, only about one third (1/3) of their installed capacity.

Table 2. Nepal Electricity Supply-Demand Outlook, in MW

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Source: Samriddhi,  2014. Policy Options for Improved Electricity Transmission System  in Nepal

Where there is lack of power and electricity, there is also low growth potential. There is definitely a direct causality between electricity use and economic growth. The countries and economies that have high per capita electricity consumption (table 1 above) also have high per capita GDP at Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) valuation.

Table 3. GDP Per Capita at PPP, in current international dollars

4Source: ADB, Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2014

In previous papers of this column over the past two years, the need to liberalize and even privatize the power generation, transmission and distribution system was articulated. In particular:

First, liberalize further the power generation sector, encourage more hydro power, big and  small, to be installed and built.

Second, facilitate more power imports from India especially those from coal power plants. Coal  is generally cheap and supply from abroad is stable. This means the construction of more transmission lines and facilities from India to Nepal.

5Third, deregulate power rates. Let those who can afford to pay higher electricity rates in exchange for more stable supply do so, whether imported from India or locally produced. This has been happening actually for many years now as the richer residential areas and big commercial centers have their own generator sets. Their willingness to pay higher rates in exchange for stable electricity supply is already there. Power rate deregulation will encourage faster construction of more power generation plants and transmission lines.

Fourth, privatize some power plants that produce more losses than revenues for the government, sell to private power companies in a competitive bidding. Privatization of  course should be coupled with industry deregulation, to encourage competition among more players.

Fifth, reduce the number of permits, bureaucracies, taxes and fees for companies putting up new power generation plants and transmission lines.  Call in more power generation companies, large engines and turbine suppliers from many countries to enter Nepal.

Nepal’s big tourism and other business potentials will be unchained drastically once the power bottlenecks are addressed and  solved.

PH power supply and the AEC

* This is my article for the maiden issue December 2014 of ASEAN Voices, pages 28-31. It is a new magazine based in Jakarta scouring important news and opinions about the region. The pdf copy is posted in slideshare.
———-

1The Asean Economic Community (AEC) is to begin operations by the end of 2015, as trade, investments, tourism and cultural exchanges are expected to see further increases among the member economies. However, ensuring an adequate and stable supply of electricity at affordable or competitive rates will pose a significant challenge to Asean economies.

It is generally understood that growth in electricity production in the Philippines has been slower than that of its neighbors in the Aseancountries. China, South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam have expanded their electricity production by five times or more in just two decades, causing some anxiety mixed with optimism, over the potential impact of the region’s fast-approaching economic integration.

Figure 1. Electricity production in Asia, 1990 vs 2011 in billion kWh

2Source: ADB, Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2014, Table 6.1

In the Philippines, a number of reports have claimed that rotating brownouts and power outages will be inevitable in the hot months of March to May 2015, when electricity demand is high and power reserves are thin. The Department of Energy (DOE) has asked Congress to grant President Benigno Aquino the authority to deal with the projected power supply deficit in an emergency.

Figure 2. Power supply-demand in Luzon, 2014-2019, as ofNovember 2014

3Source: Department of Energy (DOE); abridged version

The above medium-term supply-demand outlook for Luzon, the largest island in the Philippines, is based on the assumption that the Required Reserve Margin is a 4% regulating reserve, as well as a contingency and dispatchable reserve requirement. It also assumes that there will be a 4.2% peak demand growth rate in 2015, compared with the current year, based on the observed 0.6 elasticity ratio of demand for electric power, with a projected GDP rate of 7% in 2015. Also, there will be a 4.8% peak demand growth rate in 2016-2020, based on a projected 8% GDP growth rate for this period, and assumed average forced outage or scheduled maintenance, while the monthly percentages of the total available capacity are as follows.

4Figure 3.
However, available capacity calculations and committed projects do not deliver 100% of their rated capacity. Old conventional power plants tend to require more frequent maintenance or scheduled shutdowns, or they suffer from more unscheduled shutdowns. For new renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar power, their dependable capacity is only some 20% of their rated capacity. Thus, a 100 MW solar or wind plant can deliver only around 20 MW, on average. When there is little to no sunlight or wind, the energy output from these plants is zero or minimal. The DOE’s outlook fails to adequately reflect future dependable supply (FDPS), and so, the true gap between peak demand and available capacity/committed projects cannot be effectively addressed.

For its part, the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines issues alert levels in cases of power deficiencies. “Red Alert,” for instance, means the contingency reserve is near zero, if not negative. Red alerts have already been issued a number of times between June and September 2014, well ahead of the launch of the AEC.

Here are some critical periods in 2014, they can give a preview of supply outlook in 2015.

Actual peak demand this year was 8,717 MW, made in May 21, 2014. “Red alert” have been issued on June 17 (natural gas restriction), June 25 (3 coal plants have unscheduled shutdowns, 1 has derated power), and July 12-13 (natural gas pipeline problem).

Thin reserves were also experienced last September 8-11 (natural gas restriction), last August 30 – September 28 (Sual coal unit 2 maintenance, 647 MW), September 26 – October 25 (Sual coal unit 1 maintenance, also 647 MW).

Figure 4. Detailed view of 2014 and 2015

5
Thin reserves, if not power supply deficit, will be most critical on April-May 2015. But big industrial and commercial consumers have back up power.

Metro Manila and Luzon provinces are heavily dependent on a number of power facilities, many of which are already more than 20 years old; hence, they either require more frequent maintenance shutdowns or are prone to unscheduled shutdowns. From 2002 to 2013, only one new power plant was commissioned: the Mariveles GN Power coal plant. The oil barge by TMO is an old power plant that had remained inactive for at least five years and was re-commissioned in late 2013, purely to help prevent brownouts during last year’s Christmas season.

Figure 5. Existing major power plants in Luzon, early 2014

6Source: DOE

(Smaller plants not included in this list. Marked in red are power plants that are 20 years or older.)

So, is the Philippines ready for the anticipated energy demand surge when the AEC begins operations?

If existing and committed power plants are to be relied on, then the answer is no. Many of them are old, and many new plants utilize intermittent sources, such as wind, with low dependable power capacities.

If large industrial and commercial consumers use back-up power, as part of the Interruptible Load Program, then the answer is yes.

However, the latter would drive up the price of electricity, as these large consumers would use their own generators, and the reduced demand in the national grid would have to be compensated. This would come in the form of higher “universal charges” in succeeding months or direct payments by the DOE, using taxpayers’ money.

Still, there are a few solutions that could help expand the country’s power supply capacity.

First, power companies should bring in more peak-load plants, similar to mobile diesel power barges. The drastic decline in global oil prices presents an opportunity to lower the cost of fuel for these power plants and, in turn, lower their power-generation prices. Second, large industrial and commercial consumers can enter the power-generation business, as well. Third, media campaigns can be run to request the public, households and commercial offices to reduce their power demands by using more energy-efficient lights and appliances.

Further, government agencies should limit the bureaucratic red tape involved in getting the permits required to commission and build new power plants. DOE Secretary Jericho Petilla once said that for some projects, about 100 signatures are needed to launch and maintain a single large power plant.

Over the medium term, the government should reduce taxes and royalties for power generation, as these impositions significantly contribute to high electricity prices. The natural gas tax, for instance, amounts to 60% of the net price of gas.

It is equally important to ensure that the trade of liquefied natural gas, coal and oil among Asean countries is further assisted to help boost national and regional power supplies.

Energy and development

* This is my article in thelobbyist.biz last March 07, 2014.

1Energy is development. It is not possible to develop economically and socially if a country or economy has little electricity and hence, energy prices are high and there is frequent brown out.

In many economic literatures, growth in energy use is often used as proxy or “checking mechanism” for GDP growth as there is a generally one on one correspondence in energy use and real GDP growth.

A data from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is very interesting, below. Countries are grouped into three: Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, and others.

2Some interesting notes here, that as of 2010: (a) China has 5x energy use than Japan; (b) Japan’s energy use has almost flatlined over the past two decades; (c) Singapore has twice the energy use of HK; (d) Vietnam has overtaken the Philippines with 50 percent more energy use; (e) from 1990 to 2010, these countries have generally tripled (3x) their energy use: China, S. Korea, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore; and (f) Vietnam has expanded almost 4x.

One possible explanation here is Kyotoism, the Kyoto Protocol (KP) of countries reducing if not backsliding carbon emission (indirectly, energy use) that is not too far from their 1990 levels. Japan, Hong Kong and Australia must have tried hard to obey the global ecological central planning while real socialists and central planners China and Vietnam have totally disobeyed the ecological targets. This is one reason why KP was abandoned. When it expired in December 2012, there was no succeeding binding agreement among countries and governments. Many developed countries do not want to de-industrialize, they do not want to have electricity black outs soon.

Growth in electricity consumption and energy use in Japan, HK, Australia and several other countries was due to more efficient energy use. For instance, by using only 50 kwh bulb to produce the same street light as a 200 kwh bulb, they could expand street lights 3x or 4x even without adding another power plant. Still, it is good to have more energy capacity while improving energy use efficiency.

Another interesting data from the same publication by ADB, HK and Singapore just keep modernizing and industrializing by relying almost 100% from imported energy for their power needs. HK gets it mainly from China (mainly nuclear, coal and natural gas) while Singapore gets it mainly from Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

3

There are at least three lessons for the Philippines from the above tables.

One, there is an urgent need to expand energy capacity, to have more power generation plants, in the Philippines as more businesses, more houses and schools, other economic activities, are demanding for more stable power supply and prices.

Two, “energy independence” sounds cool but HK and Singapore show no interest in such goal. They are almost 100 percent dependent on imported energy yet they seem to be not bothered. Aas long as they have the money, they can buy energy from anywhere.

Three, energy prices here must go down through more competition among more private energy producers. Also, government can share the burden by reducing the taxes, fees and royalties for energy projects.

ADB electric tricycles, Part 2

* This is my article in TV5’s news portal last April 13, 2012.
http://www.interaksyon.com/article/29289/fat-free-economics-foreign-aid-public-debt-and-tricycles

There is a new loan from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for the Philippine government worth $300 million to manufacture and distribute some 100,000 electric tricycles (e-trikes) nationwide.

My beef about these 100,000 new tricycles is one, what we need in this country is more high passenger volume vehicles like buses and trains, not more tricycles. Small-population economies like Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan do not even have tricycles or jeepneys, how much more an economy with a population approaching 100 million in about two years.

But the local government units (LGUs) ensured the perpetual existence of tricycles by granting them route monopolies. Route A from the municipal proper to Barangay A is to be monopolized by tricycle operators and drivers association (TODA) A. Jeepneys, air-con vans or mini-buses are banned and prohibited from putting up any competition to the tricycle monopoly A. The same goes for TODA B, TODA C, etc. for route monopoly B, route monopoly C and so on.

If LGUs do not create route monopolies for tricycles, then competing public transportation like air-con vans in urban centers, and jeepneys in rural areas can easily fill the transport gap that is monopolized by tricycles. Tricycles would follow a natural death if ordinary folks and commuters are simply given more choices, more options in public transport, not more monopolies.

A second issue is the additional public debt that we would incur from creating these monopolies. Interest payments alone constitute around 20 percent of the annual budget of the national government, principal amortization excluded.

A third concern is if e-trikes are really cute, really financially viable, why not leave it to the market and see if operators will take on the business even without a taxpayers’ subsidy. We taxpayers will pay for those 100,000 new tricycles through NEDA-DOE-DOF and LGUs. And the beneficiaries are most likely the political supporters of mayors and governors in the recipient LGUs, as well as supporters of the current administration. If these e-trikes will get zero taxpayers subsidy, then thank you. Unfortunately, I have not seen any document saying that this is the case considering that there is heavy government involvement in the planning and implementation of this project.

A fourth issue is the electricity bill of those e-trikes, which will be borne again by taxpayers through LGU recharging stations. If operators or their drivers will recharge at home, then thank you. If it’s us taxpayers, no thank you.

A fifth issue is maintenance and replacement of old and depreciated lithium batteries. Will this be charged to taxpayers, or to private operators with zero tax subsidy?

A sixth issue is the endless rent-seeking and energy/transportation rackets all in the service of “saving the planet.” I have three questions for the defenders and propagators of this campaign:

One, where are those scientific data showing that natural factors — the sun, galactic cosmic rays, water vapor, clouds, volcanoes, other natural greenhouse gases (GHGs) — are ruled out, are categorically denied, as drivers and contributors to the earth’s climate change?

Two, is there no such thing as global cooling, only global warming? No natural climate cycles of warming-to-cooling and back, only “unprecedented, unequivocal man-made warming?”

Three, was there no medieval warm period (MWP) of nearly 600 years of warmer temperatures than the past century’s warming? Was there no little ice age that followed after the MWP and preceded the past century’s warming?

Any bright idea – if it is indeed a bright one – will survive and prosper if it is financed through voluntary exchange in the market, not through tax subsidies. The system of reward and punishment, of expansion and bankruptcy, is the best regulator and disciplinary tool among market players.

If things are provided at heavy subsidies, there is little incentive to make them sustainable. Instead, people would become complacent, and the original project will be slowly abandoned.

From e-trikes to e-jeepneys and e-buses, only political rent-seekers and their political supporters stand to gain. It is a dubious yet vicious cycle with no end in sight.
——–

Meanwhile, here is the ADB’s youtube propaganda of those e-trikes,
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n1mVrZJZCOQ

And here are some details on this project at the ADB website,

Loan Name Market Transformation Through Introduction of Energy Efficient Electric Tricyles
Country Philippines
Project Number 43207- 02
Source of Funding/Amount[Proposed]
Clean Technology Fund-IBRD US$1.00  million
Ordinary Capital Resources US$300.00  million

The interest rate and other terms for this new fiscal irresponsibility project is not included in the above project data sheet.

ADB’s electric tricycles

* Originally posted on April 07, 2012.

On March 27, 2012, the Noynoy Aquino (PNoy) facebook profile posted this photo with the following caption:
[Adm-08] The National Economic and Development Authority is set to provide 100,000 Electric Tricycles to operators in Metro Manila, Davao City, Boracay, Puerto Princess City, and Cabanatuan City. The Energy Efficient Electric Tricycle (e-Trike) Project will not only reduce fuel consumption by 560,926 oil barrels, it is a vital act in efforts to protect and nurture our environment.
I posted the above photo and caption in my facebook wall last April 02 and asked,

I am curious, who will pay for these 100,000 e-tricycles? Us taxpayers again via NEDA and LGUs? If e-tricycles are really cute and financially feasible, why not leave that to private enterprises to purchase and operate them? Why via government?
My posting attracted a number of comments from other friends. Here are some of them:
(1) Popoy: You raise a good point Noy, tricycles in this country are a bane to urban living, undisciplined, perennial traffic violators, and notorious for blocking the implementation of good policies (like the implementation of the clean air law and the prohibition of tricycles in katipunan avenue), increasing their number by 100,000 under the guise of energy efficiency is at the least a questionable public policy. Wala na bang ibang option? Why not promote cycling in urban areas instead? If you want reduction of fuel consumption, this is it!!! And is there a study on sustainablity? baka ipapamigay yan ang then in a few years time sira sira na yan at nakatambak..
(2) Doods: e-tricycles are still too expensive. perhaps the government should have engaged private corporations as partners via a PPP agreement.
I think this is another racket by the government and the ADB. Just focus on the financials alone: Who will be the beneficiaries and recipients of these 100,000 e-tricycles, political supporters of Malacanang, Governors and Mayors? I also suspect that the supplier/s of those 100,000 tricycles are large donors of the WWF and other climate rent-seekers and racketers.
I also suspect that these electric tricycles will not last long. Things that are government-issued tend to become dilapidated easily. Look back at the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of hectares of government upland reforestation in the 80s funded by the ADB, WB and Japan government. We have paid for those xx hundred million dollars of loans and those man-made public forest are almost nowhere to see.
I further suspect that those e-trikes are not only expensive to purchase (about P100,000 each), they are also  expensive to maintain as the shops of the suppliers of those tricycles are not openly accessible and hence, are not subject to competition by many players. The batteries, I saw an electric jeepney in Bel Air Makati. I heard that it takes overnight charging for that e-jeep to allow it to travel for a few hours trip at day time.
Checked the ADB website, www.adb.org,  I can’t find the press release or related literature for those 100,000 new tricycles. Why is it hidden?
More comments from other friends:
(3) Ronald: Great points . The answer is that government buys the vehicles with tax money, therefore OVERPAY the suppliers, and those suppliers kick back a few bucks. It’s just cronyism.
(4) Jun: Noy, i think the answer is clearly written “ADB”. Mukhang utang sa Asian Development Bank yan. Parang middleman lang ito. Hanap ng uutang saka magpapa-utang. Tapos taga sila left and right. This e trikes will flood our limited spaces some more. sana E buses or e-trains na lang!
Usually with bulk procurement by the government, cronyism is almost inevitable. The debt pusher (often no different from drug pusher) ADB and other foreign aid makes money from such loans, the debt addict (no different from drug addicts) borrower government, national or local, makes money through some kickbacks, the suppliers too make money. The recipient political supporters are happy to get free or highly subsidized tricycles and may not even pay in full later. It’s us taxpayers again who will shoulder those costs.
Imagine also, 100,000 new tricycles! Even if only 30,000 will be for Metro Manila, 70,000 in the provinces, our highways will become slower with more tricycles in the national roads. It’s good that they are prohibited in expressways. With daily use of often over-loaded tricycles, perhaps they will last only 4 years or less, especially the battery.
More comments from one of my discussion yahoogroups:
(4) Tere: I am also not particularly enamoured about the e-trikes, specially since it seems that GOP is borrowing from ADB for the project. I understand it is supposed to respond to the argument for cleaner air. Be that as it may, but the bigger problem not answered by the e-trikes is whether this is the solution to the more fundamental issue of providing for economical mass transit in the country, and the traffic congestion. Presumably if the project succeeds in replacing all the existing 2-stroke tricycles in the country (and the procedure for doing that can be complicated), we would still have traffic slowdown along the highway to Ilocos because of an e-trike, but at least the air we breathe is cleaner.
(5) Ed: just drop by Mandaluyong and try one for yourself. Same fare. Each route/trike coop has been provided one unit for trial, so it’s kinda chancy. Theoretically, there won’t be additional 100K trikes since they are suppose to replace, not augment. But how can NEDA provide these? It isn’t even a line agency. Besides P10B for e-trikes sounds baloney.
Pros: quiet, smoke free, better seating.
Cons: only one charging station at city hall, at pag brownout lakad lahat.
The footprint of a motorcycle or a car is the same. There is no benefit to traffic in changing from one to the other.
It is obvious that the e-trikes are not the solution to the traffic problem or the lack of sufficient public transportation in Metro Manila and other big cities in the country. Even small population countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, do not have tricycles, not even jeepneys, only high passenger volume vehicles like buses and trains. The e-trikes are accommodations for various vested interests: (a) the debt-addict government agencies, national and local; (b) debt pusher foreign aid like ADB and WB, (c) climate racketeers like WWF, Greenpeace and Oxfam, (d) and suppliers of those e-trikes. A 5th benefactor, (e) Meralco and other electricity distributors for the new huge electricity consumers.
Taxpayers will not only pay for the purchase of those e-trikes, they will also pay for the daily electricity consumption of those tricycles, via those charging stations at city halls? And what’s next, the spare parts, especially the battery of those tricycles, also to be charged to taxpayers?
Any bright idea, if it is indeed a bright one, will survive and prosper if it is financed via voluntary exchange in the market, not via tax money subsidies. The system of reward and punishment, of expansion and bankruptcy, is the best regulator and disciplinary action among market players. If things are provided at heavy subsidies, there is little incentive to make them sustainable. Rather, they’d wish an implicit early failure, so that another program, say from electric tricycles to electric jeepneys, will be distributed to political rent-seekers, to “save the poor”, “save the planet” while at the same time, saving the pockets of those rent-seekers. It’s a dubious vicious circle almost with no end in sight.
For me, this is another example why more foreign aid only often means more public debt, more racket for the debt addicts and the debt pushers.