“We should follow the law,” said Whipps of Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC), raising its rates over 100% in April. He added that Palau law, RPPL 9-4 requires PPUC to be self-sustaining, operating like a private enterprise without government subsidies.
He added that PPUC’s current situation was due to Olbiil Era Kelulau (OEK) preventing them in the past from raising their rates to meet their full operating cost and maintenance of their infrastructure.
On April 1st, PPUC’s new water and wastewater rates will take effect. The new rates reflect PPUC’s full operating cost.
Under the new rates, the tiers are removed, and the rates will be based on usage. For residential customers, the water rate will go to $6.72 per 1,000 gallons. For those currently using 0 to 5,000 gallons and paying $1.65 per gallon, that rate will go up to $6.72 per 1,000 gallons, over a 500% increase. For customers currently using 5,000 gallons or more, their rate actually drops by 3 cents.
For wastewater, residential customers currently paying $.41 cents per 1,000 will pay $ 9.31 per 1,000 gallons, over a 2,000 percent increase. Customers with over 5,000 gallons of wastewater that are now paying $6.18 per gallon will also see an increase to $9.31 per gallon.
Residents on fixed charge rates will increase from $5 to $15 per customer.
Commercial customers will see $.3 cents decrease in water rates but an over 50% increase in wastewater rates.
President Whipps urged OEK to pass the minimum wage law to help with the rising cost of living, including the anticipated increase in utility rates.