Fri. Jan 24th, 2020

We are not putting the cart before the horse: PPUC Chairman

Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) Chairman Gregorio Decherong (leftmost) during the signing of contract for the microgrid project with France-based company Engie EPS. With him in the photo are Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce Minister Charles Obichang and Engie EPS Chief Executive Officer Carlalberto Guglielminotti. (FILE PHOTO)

Palau Public Utilities Corporation (PPUC) Chairman Gregorio Decherong slammed the report that he had admitted to have rushed the negotiation on the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) by “putting the cart before the horse” and even accused a local newspaper of inaccurate reporting.

Decherong, in an interview during the sidelines of the leadership meeting on January 11, said that the newspaper article reporting that he had conceded during a meeting with senate that PPUC had “put the cart before the horse” on the signed PPA with France-based company Engie EPS was “not correct.”

Putting the cart before the horse is an expression use to covey that something is done in the wrong order or reverse way. The senate previously questioned the contract signed by PPUC with Engie EPS after finding out that the Palau Energy Administration, the regulatory body for PPUC, still does not have a promulgated regulation.

Decherong’s statement was in response to Delegate Jonathan Isechal’s outburst during the leadership meeting on January 11 in Palasia Hotel.

Isechal, during the leadership meeting, expressed his disappointment about the report, saying that Decherong’s quoted statement in the news article was “a stab in the back of the 16 Delegates, Council of Chiefs, Governors, Speaker, and the over 50% of Palauans who supported the agreement.”

Decherong, as a result, stood up to explain that his statement during the Senate meeting with PPUC was made in answer to Senator Phillip Reklai’s inquiry of whether the PPUC is going backwards in the process of doing the PPA.

“I told them (Senators) we are not putting the cart before the horse because we are following the law and the procurement process of the PPUC and we follow the law,” Decherong told Island Times. Decherong also explained the same thing during the meeting.

“We continue to follow the law and we want to move forward on this project so we want to find a way to resolve it and I requested that PPUC will be given the opportunity to continue discussions on the technical part of the project while the Senate, and the congress, and the office of the president talk about the issues on sovereign guaranty, taxes, and all of those administrative,” Decherong further explained.

Senate President Hokkons Baules also clarified during the leadership meeting that the Senate has no issue with the microgrid project, which will be in place if all parties okay the newly restructured PPA with Engie EPS, and explained that they just wanted the law to be followed.

“If PPUC does its part, everybody does [his or her] part. The position of the senate is we should follow the law because we do not want the public to blame us,” Baules said. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)