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It's Time to Give the DWP a Reboot

EDITOR’S PICK--Every time you turn on a light or charge your cellphone, you pay a tax. Surprised? Many Angelenos don't realize that hidden in their monthly bill from the Department of Water and Power is a big surcharge in the form of a 10% City of Los Angeles Utility Tax, as well as a “transfer” of 8% of all electric-related revenue to City Hall. In short, you're paying almost 20% more for electricity than you should be.

 

For a typical residential DWP customer with an electric bill of $130, that's about $25 each month that gets paid right into the city's general fund and spent on things that have nothing to do with keeping the lights on. There is no question rates have to go up if DWP is to modernize its system to produce cleaner, more reliable power — but that issue is separate and apart from the question of how much DWP revenue should be siphoned off by City Hall.

In the coming days, the City Council will vote on the largest power rate increase in DWP history — a cumulative hike of more than 20% over five years. Over the next decade, that will produce a windfall for the city's coffers, almost $1 billion. To be clear — this money is coming out of ratepayers' pockets, but none of it will be spent to improve the utility's aging infrastructure, increase wind or solar power generation, or make service more affordable and reliable.

How has this happened? Because there is a complete lack of public accountability at DWP. (Read the rest.

-cw