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DWP board approves controversial surcharge

A DWP board voted Thursday to approve a controversial carbon reduction surcharge that was proposed by Mayor Villaraigosa.

March 18, 2010 12:10:33 AM PDT
The Department of Water and Power board of commissioners voted Thursday to approve a controversial carbon reduction surcharge that was proposed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.The mayor wants to go "green," but with a lot of L.A. residents struggling in the down economy, raising residents' electrical rates isn't a popular idea.

The surcharge increases rates for each customer about $2.50 per month. For businesses, it could increase rates by 20 percent.

The surcharge proposal is part of the mayor's plan to use more renewable energy sources, like solar and wind power. He has said he'd like to see the DWP use about 20 percent by the end of the year, and 40 percent by the year 2020.

It's an ambitious goal, but the problem is that it comes in a time when the economy is suffering. People are telling the mayor this is not the time to do it, and many consumer rights groups are telling him to hold off because residents are already having a hard time paying their bills, and government employees are being laid off left and right.

In the meantime, DWP employees recently received a raise.

The board approved the surcharge in a 4-0 vote Thursday afternoon.


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