The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has approved an energy rate hike of about 5 percent for most residential customers. The LA City Council will now weigh in on the plan, which would raise rates on commercial customers around 11 percent. If the council approves, the hikes would take effect later this year.
DWP General Manager Ron Nichols says the money will help maintain the basic infrastructure of the public utility: poles and lines. "We’re on borrowed time right now and ever time we see a major windstorm, a major rain that comes through, that’s when we start seeing the impact on our system," he says. "People take their power for granted until it’s not there and we need to make sure our power is reliable to our customers."
Nichols says state rules limiting greenhouse gases and promoting renewable energy are creating a need for higher rates. The utility has said it’s trying to end its dependence on coal - a cheaper electricity source than solar or wind energy.
Angelenos’ power rates get a hearing at the LA City Council’s energy and environment committee next Wednesday.