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DWP wants rate discount in hot zones

May 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Summertime is just weeks away, and for people in the San Fernando Valley dreading those high energy bills, there was some good news from the Department of Water and Power (DWP) on Monday. Some Valley residents living in so-called "hot zones" may be able to get a break from electricity rate hikes.It may sound like an adult theme park, but in LA., hot zones are portions of the city that are warmer than others. The hottest zones are neighborhoods that are furthest from the ocean. And this summer, people who live in those hot zones may get a slight break from higher electric bills.

"This isn't giving anybody a bonus. What it is, it's not penalizing someone just because they live in a hotter area," said DWP General Manager H. David Nahai.

If approved by the City Council, the DWP will soon charge for power based on how much you use. If you stay below a certain level of usage from June to September, you get a lower rate. But go above that tier and you'll pay a cent-and-a-half-per-kilowatt hour higher, and five-cents-per-kilowatt hour higher in the third tier.

The dividing line will depend on hot it gets in your neighborhood.

"You have to remember that a refrigerator uses different amounts of energy depending on whether it's in a hot area or a cooler area," said Nahai. "And so it's fair to have a system in which the tiers differ depending on where somebody lives."

When the DWP first proposed hot zone pricing rates, it only included the San Fernando Valley. But when they got enough complaints from people in downtown L.A. and other portions of the city, they went back to restudy it.

So after consulting a climate study, the DWP now includes downtown, and east and south L.A., as hot zones. The Valley's hot, except breezy Studio City and Toluca Lake. They're too cool to qualify.

Eyewitness News talked with residents of both zones, and found them hot under the collar about the whole concept.

"No, I'm against it," said Rubin Delmuro, who said he thinks everyone should be charged the same.

"Well, I think that's definitely out of line. I don't think that would be right," said Dayana Delaroca.

The DWP says tiered summer pricing encourages residents to conserve power. It's been doing it on the water side for several years.

On Tuesday, the Board of Power Commissioners will hold a hearing on the matter. The City Council makes the final decision.

 

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