The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power provides services to 1.4 million customers. The department’s sheer size makes it one of the largest power blocs in city government, and one of the largest targets within city politics. Last week, the L.A. City Council deadlocked on a measure for the March ballot that would allow the Council to fire top DWP executives. A separate measure to form a watchdog agency independent of the DWP was repeatedly amended by council members, mindful of union opposition (mayor Villaraigosa supports creation of a "ratepayer advocate" while opposing placing the issue on the ballot). The Council also recently voted to review a controversial DWP decision to reduce the size of solar panel subsidies. Although this rebate project has been overwhelmed by its own success – 2010 requests more than doubled the program’s budget – the steep rebate reductions would drastically affect participating residents, businesses, and environmentalist groups. And last March, the City Council rejected an ECAF rate hike, highlighting the tensions between these competing municipal power bases. We sort it out with KPCC’s environment reporter, Molly Peterson.
Molly Peterson, KPCC’s environment reporter
Eric Garcetti, President of the Los Angeles City Council