The Senate Committee on Public Utilities, Communications and Housing Development (PUC &HD) said that Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) is clearly not in compliance with its tariff schedule and should make immediate changes its policy and operating procedures, which includes addressing a range of complaints by its customers.

In an April 5 letter to PPUC Board of Director Sam Masang, Senators Rukebai Inabo and Senator John Skebong, chairman and vice chairman of the Senate PUC &HD panel, respectively stated that this conclusion was made during the Senate oversight hearing last March 28.

The panel alleged PPUC customers have little recourse to challenge the company’s policies.

“As captive customers of PPUC, the entire population of Palau is subjected to what PPUC bills collect without choice,” the senators said in the letter.

They said that PPUC committed a “serious breach of duty and exploitation of the public trust,” for collecting from its customers more than what is defined in the tariff schedule.

The senators said PPUC should submit to the Senate a list of an action plan on several issues raised during the hearing.

The panel said PPUC should stop erroneously charging customers automatically for disconnection and reconnection fees without actually disconnecting the services.

The senators demanded that PPUC “reverses, credit or refund all disconnection fees wrongfully taken from the people.”

The panel also stated that PPUC should make billing adjustments when there are billing errors and the difference should be refunded or credited to customers.

PPUC has also been asked to ensure their water meter readings are accurate and hire a third party to do an impartial verification on PPUC meter calibration process.

PPUC should also be transparent in its installation process and costs and refund customers of any overcharge costs.

The PPUC was also asked to treat customers equally and implement policies against nepotism.

PPUC should also cease from collecting any attempts to collect fees not clearly defined or specified in the tariff schedule.

The panel said PPUC should specify a timeline in addressing the issues besetting the companys raised during the oversight hearing. (Bernadette H. Carreon)