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L.A. City Council approves smaller DWP hike

March 30, 2010 12:01:50 AM PDT
The Los Angeles City Council has voted for a 4.5 percent increase to electricity rates for residents. It's the first of four rate increases the mayor wants over the next year to pay for green energy and conservation programs.The increase approved Tuesday also calls for a 5 to 6 percent for businesses. It's less than what Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa wanted, but an independent analysis shows it will be enough to shield the Department of Water and Power from a bond rating downgrade.

Council President Eric Garcetti and Councilwoman Jan Perry introduced the opposing plan that calls for raising DWP rates by five-tenths of a cent per kilowatt hour for residents and businesses, and then by another one-tenths of a cent per kilowatt hour for renewable energy.

The mayor held a rally outside council chambers with union workers, environmentalists and other leaders who support the green-energy plan, which is being proposed by Councilman Richard Alarcon.

It calls for a 6-percent increase for residential customers, so Tier 1 customers would pay about $2 more per month. Commercial customers would see their bills go up by as much as $2,400 a month.

Under the plan, the cost of a kilowatt hour would go up by eight-tenths of a cent.

Villaraigosa is pushing for the rate hike to fund renewable energy projects, but the council denied the mayor's first proposal.

Villaraigosa says the DWP will be fined $300 million by the state if it does not reduce its cold usage, and he wants the council to back the Alarcon plan.