Proposed DWP rules to empower rate payers

LOS ANGELES /*L.A. City Council*/ President Eric Garcetti wants a rate payer advocate at the /*Department of Water and Power*/ to make sure that the utility is playing it straight with customers and the public.

The Council will vote on putting the measure on the March 2011 ballot. This comes after the /*DWP*/ came under severe scrutiny for withholding $73 million from the city of Los Angeles to get a rate increase passed.

The DWP also came under fire after a series of water main breaks erupted around the city flooding homes, businesses and streets. Unbalanced water restrictions were said to be the cause. The restrictions put too much pressure on the cast iron pipes.

These troubles with the DWP have the City Council president demanding oversight. A rate payer advocate will act as a full-time independent watchdog over the utility.

The City Council will also vote on the measure requiring the utility to release its budget earlier than usual so the council members will have more time to review it.

CNS contributed to this report.

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