Thu. Sep 19th, 2019

Bill to keep electricity rate at $.19 cents per kWh proposed

The House of Delegates adopted a bill mandating Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) to subsidize 45% of customers’ energy bill by keeping the tariff rate at $.19 cents or less per kilowatt hour beginning year 2020.  The PPUC subsidy will be paid by National Government appropriation.

“The Engie solar project died in the Senate but we believe that the energy cost is a major expense of the people and that we need to help subsidize the power until such time that we find a power source that can provide us less than $.19 cents per kilowatt/hour,” stated Delegate Jonathan Isechal, Chairman of House Ways and Means Committee, to whom the bill was assigned.

The bill’s legislative findings state that contract that PPUC entered into with Engie EPS but later disapproved by Senate, was to provide “reduced overall energy costs…and price stability and predictability over the coming years”.

“Olbiil Era Kelulau finds that subsiding energy consumption costs to allow the tariff rate to the match the contemplated tariff rate will support economic growth within the Republic by reducing the cost to Palauan energy consumers,” stated the findings.

Source of funding for the subsidy is not identified in the bill.  The bill states that “such subsidy will be paid by the National Government through appropriation.”

“The bill is coming to my committee and will go through public hearings and other information gathering processes. We will look for solutions to lowering the energy consumption cost to the people of Palau,” declared Delegate Isechal.

The bill was introduced by House Speaker Sabino Anastacio, Vice Speaker Lucio Ngiraiwet, Floor Leader Gibson Kanai, Delegate Jonathan Isechal and Delegate Mengkur Rechelulk.  It passed first reading yesterday and was assigned to Ways and Means Committee of the House of Delegates. (L.N. Reklai)