Wednesday, March 26, 2008

LA City Council's Bold Leadership on Energy Rates

The City Council in Los Angeles chickened out yesterday and postponed a vote on the proposed rate hike by the Department of Water and Power. DWP boss David Nahai basically told the Council that blood will be on their hands this summer if there are heat-related blackouts.

According to the DWP, additional funds are urgently needed to fix aging infrastructure. Neighborhood councils oppose the move, however, calling the rate hikes "nickel and diming".

Writing in the Los Angeles Times, David Zahiser notes that opponents point out (correctly) that the Mayor and the City Council have raided DWP funds to balance the City budget and that blame for the current shortfall rests squarely on them:

"Opponents of the rate hikes have long criticized city officials for using $175 million in DWP power funds each year to balance the city budget. Over the last two years, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and the council also agreed to transfer $63 million in water funds to the city budget -- a move that was suspended in the wake of a lawsuit."