By: L.N. Reklai
September 7, 2017 (Koror, Palau) A class action suit is being contemplated by citizens led by Mr. Roman Yano against Palau Public Utilities Corporation for how it is billing its customers for water usage.
“Many people have been seeing thousand percent increases in their water bills this year that cannot be explained and is causing a great deal of hardship for many people,” stated Mr. Roman Yano in an interview. [restrict]
“My water usage jumped inexplicably by almost 300% in one month. In March my usage was little over 5,000 gallons. In April it went up to over 15,000 gallons. They tell me it is probably leaks but so many people are reporting same jump in their water usage. I can’t believe everybody all had major leaks at around same time,” expressed frustrated Mr. Yano.
Yano said that many other people are looking at their billings for the same period and they all experience drastic increase in water usage resulting in huge water bills.
One woman, not wanting to be identified, stated that her regular water billing averages between $11 and $17 dollars a month (current water charge is .00159 per gallon up to 5,000 gallons). Now it over $100 and she had to be called to come and pay the difference because her allotment to PPUC is less than her water expense.
“There are only 3 people in my house and it makes no sense that all of sudden my bill goes up this high,” she added.
Some businesses are also complaining about the drastic jump in water expense. One small hotel owner says her bill went from around $1500 a month to $15,000. “I can’t run a business like this. It is impossible! “
“The water rate did not change because they have not had a change in water tariff recently. But our water usage volume just sky rocketed overnight. Something is very wrong here and nobody at PPUC can explain this to us,” said Mr. Roman Yano.
Water and Sewer rate is proposed to be raised on October 1, 2017 by 77% and this has garnered lot of complains and worry from people.
Based on the drastic jump in people’s water bills this year with some reporting 100% and above increase, the idea of additional increase of 77% is unpalatable to many.
Senate moved to stop the implementation of PPUC’s Water and Sewer Tariff as well as mandate PPUC to provide report on water and sewer improvements in the FY 2018 budget bill which it passed on 2nd reading.
The bill also contained $1.6 million subsidy to PPUC to help offset cost rather than increase tariff. [/restrict]