Public utilities corporations clash over power poles
By: L.N. Reklai
July 16, 2016 (Koror) Palau Public Utilities Corporation’s (PPUC) staffs worked over the weekend to remove Palau National Telecommunications Corporation’s (PNCC) fiber optic cables that were recently strung from KB Bridge to Ngerbechedesau on PPUC’s power poles. This is due to “unauthorized use” of PPUC power poles, according to PPUC PIO Johnny Kintaro. [restrict]
Palau’s only two public utilities corporations are butting heads over the use of PPUC’s power poles by PNCC. PPUC in their letter to PNCC on April 29, 2016, informs PNCC to cease putting its equipment on PPUC’s power poles until an official legal agreement is executed. The letter also states that with no agreement in place, PPUC will remove any of PNCC’s equipment placed on its power poles.
PPUC CEO Kione Isechal in the letter to PNCC’s General Manager Paul Kingzio, stated that the two corporations were suppose to create a joint committee in March to survey and assess all power poles being utilized by PNCC before a joint agreement can be provided to PNCC to use these power poles and PNCC has not moved on this.
“PNCC is seen aggressively exploiting our power poles by installing additional cables….this is a blatant disregard to PPUC and its private property,” stated PPUC CEO Isechal.
In the same letter to PNCC, PPUC CEO request PNCC to provide its audited financial statements for the last 3 years including copies of documents, contracts or agreements with private companies providing revenue generating services like the 3G network. According to the letter, PPUC is interested in the revenue generated by PNCC utilizing PPUC power poles.
“Palau Mobile had its equipment on PPUC power poles for many years now. We have asked PPUC to show the rates they applied to PMC and apply them to us. As a public corporation, those rates should be published but they are not,” stated a source from PNCC. “And now PPUC wants to establish a different rate for PNCC based on PNCC’s revenue instead of a published rate mandated by law.”
“And we did not get together in March because PPUC was busy with the drought emergency. We had decided to resume talks with PPUC after the emergency,” stated PNCC management staff.
PNCC believe that based on “past practices to date and precedents” and PNCC’s interpretation of the law, PNCC has the right to the use of the power poles.
According to PNCC Chairman Rhinehart Silas, PNCC is preparing for the upcoming international submarine cable connectivity, and is putting up a local fiber optic cable network to improve the quality of service once the international marine fiber cable is connected,. The fiber optic cable will run along the main road from Airai to Meyuns and will connect to major facilities such as schools and hospital. The infrastructure is expected to enhance the internet experience once in place. [/restrict]