LA City Council members say DWP customers need advocate

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Several Los Angeles City Council members are calling for a new independent watchdog at the Department of Water and Power.

The city-owned utility has asked the City Council to allow water and energy rate hikes several times in recent years.

Former DWP chief David Nahai got into hot water with the City Council over those requests and recent water main breaks.

Now that Nahai's gone, City Council members say they're concerned about making the DWP's policies more transparent to consumers.

The new interim chief, David Freeman, told the Central City Association that L.A. doesn't need an extra person to do that.

"I assured the city council, forget about a ratepayer advocate or inspector general," he said Wednesday. "That's me. And that's what's going to happen over there for the next four or five months at least."

Councilman Grieg Smith isn't convinced – he’s proposed an inspector general to oversee how the DWP spends its money.

L.A. City Council President Eric Garcetti is bringing forth a motion to ask the city's legislative analyst to research what works in other big cities, and to recommend what a ratepayer advocate would do in Los Angeles.