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LADWP to increase rates 11 percent over 2 years as report reveals high employee salaries

September 25, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles City Council voted to approve a proposed Department of Water and Power rate hike as a new report shows DWP employee salaries are significantly higher than industry norms.

The council approved the rate hikes 11 to 3.

This year's increase of 4.9 percent kicks in November. A 6-percent increase will go in effect next year, totaling an 11 percent rate increase over two years.

The typical household will pay an extra $3.65 per month; high-use homes could pay nearly $19 more per month.

"Energy efficiency, which is the most responsible method that we can use to reduce our carbon footprint and provide jobs here locally, and our customer solar programs," said DWP General Manager Ron Nichols in city council session.

"They've said that on every raise since I've been in council, and if you go back, they'll always use infrastructure and renewables as a reason for the rate," said L.A. City Councilman Bernard Parks, who voted against the rate hikes. "If you go back subsequent and look at how the money is spent, it's almost invariably based on operational expense."

A PA Consulting report found all DWP employees, from cable splicers to call center workers and managers, make on average about 20 to 46 percent more than their counterparts at about a dozen other utility companies, both public and private.

The report also says if DWP cut salaries and overall labor costs, they could actually reduce future DWP rate increases.

DWP said it can't do anything about reducing salaries right now because worker contracts don't expire for another two years. DWP also says state regulations are the real reason the company is forced to raise rates.


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