By: L.N. Reklai
September 4, 2017 (Koror, Palau) Senate President Hokkons Baules is requested to compel Palau Public Utilities Corporations’ Chairman Sam Masang and CEO Kione Isechal to a public hearing to answer public concerns about tariff rates, disconnection and reconnection services, irregularity in billing cycles, metering and fuel adjustment rates.
In a letter signed by five Senators, Senator Inabo, Senator Senior, Senator Akitaya, Senator Whipps and Senator Chin, it asserts that despite repeated requests to Chairman of Capital Improvement Projects, Senator John Skebong, to conduct public hearing with PPUC to address these raised issues Senator Skebong has not been able or willing to conduct such hearing.
Senators further urged Senate President to use his subpoenas authority to compel the officers of PPUC to come to a public hearing and provide all documents on tariff rates and other issues raised.
The letter further states that Senate might be seen by the public to be protecting their own interests, such as preventing records of some members of OEK who are not paying their home or business bills from becoming public.
“If we continue to remain quiet and complacent about these troubling issues at PPUC, the people of Palau who elected us to office might mistakenly conclude that we are somehow protecting PPUC and are intentionally preventing, obstructing, impeding or deterring full disclosure of billing records which might implicate members of the OEK who are not paying their bills for their homes or businesses.”
The letter was issued before Tuesday’s scheduled Senate session where Senate Ways & Means Committee will be presenting a report on the FY 2018 Annual Budget bill in its second reading. No public hearings have been held on the bill so far and the bill contains proposed subsidy for PPUC. [/restrict]