Lawmaker on power purchase deal: It’s not the OEK’s job to negotiate
Delegate Jonathan Isechal commented on the pending deliberation by the Senate on Palau’s Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with French company, Engie Eps, saying that it is not the national congress’ job to negotiate for the deal.
Isechal, who chairs the House of Delegates’ (HOD) Committee on Ways and Means that was responsible for examining the PPA at the HOD level, reminded the Senate that based on the constitution, it is the executive branch who has the responsibility to do negotiations in projects such as the microgrid under the PPA with Engie Eps.
“The [national congress] does not negotiate, they either approve or disapprove,” Isechal emphasized.
“The senate must understand what’s our responsibility relating to Engie, the process pursuant to constitution, so if the price is not right for the Senate, then either they do not pass or adopt the resolution so the thing is dead, or, they go ahead and adopt the House’s [version of the resolution],” Isechal added.
The delegate said that Palau’s president, the Palau Energy Administration (PEA), and Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC), the main offices pushing for the deal, have done their job so the Senate also must do its part by either adopting the HOD’s version of the resolution or proposing changes on the language of the resolution if they do not approve of it.
“If they want to change it then we can sit down and iron out our differences,” Isechal said.
The PPA remains pending at the Senate due to several concerns including the indicated power rate, the lack of promulgated regulations by the PEA as a regulatory body, and the local tax exemption given to Engie Eps, among others.
Isechal also explained that on the HOD’s side, they had consulted their legal counsel to make sure that their actions are in line with the constitution.
According to Isechal, the current administration only has two years left to sort out this project and if this project is not going to push through, this will become a political liability especially for those who are intending to run for electoral posts in the next national elections.
Engie Eps, according to the delegate, had also said that it is not going to wait a little longer when the new administration will take over. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)