Advocating for the future

Posted on | June 13, 2011 | No Comments

Denied the full rate hike that it sought from an irate city council last year, the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power acceded to pressure to create a position for a “rate payer advocate.” The fear among conservationists was that the council and advocate would then thwart future rate hikes needed to replace leaking pipes, for conservation and a shift to alternative energy. One and a half general managers later (one was interim), the LADWP is now staging public workshops to explain to the public why it needs to invest now for water and power security later. The graphic above comes from a PowerPoint that accompanies the DWP meeting schedule. The first meeting, in Van Nuys, is scheduled for this Wednesday from 6.30-9pm at the Marvin Braude Constituent Center. Click here for background and here for the full workshop schedule.

UPDATE 6/15/11: The Los Angeles Times reports today that the utility is characterizing conservation and aggressive pipe repair as a “choice” but that LA City Council member Jan Perry plans on slowing down any rate hikes until the rate payer advocate position is filled, which could take months.

“The basic rate hikes proposed Tuesday would mean the average residential customer’s electricity bill would increase by about $4 each year, for three years,” reports the Times. “The water bill would increase by more than $2 each year. Some revenue from those hikes would pay for mandated shifts to renewable energy. But they would not cover $37 million in outlays needed to upgrade water pipelines or $16 million needed to enhance water conservation programs. They also would not cover $366 million in improvements and conservation projects in the agency’s electricity service, [General Manager Ron] Nichols said.”

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