LA residents to pay higher water, power bills starting April 1

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power headquarters in downtown Los Angeles.
Michael Chen/flickr Creative Commons

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Water and electricity bills are going up in Los Angeles.

The L.A. City Council on Tuesday gave final approval to a plan from the city's Department of Water and Power to raise rates in an effort to fund infrastructure improvements.

For typical residential customers who now pay about $130.67 per month for water and electricity, bills will be closer to $151.65 at the end of five years. Billing increases will be phased in on an annual basis, with the first increase set to take effect April 1.

LADWP’s goal is to raise $1.05 billion over the next five years for water and power projects. Guy Lipa, the utility's chief of staff, said the agency will use the projected revenue increase  as collateral for bonds to fund work immediately on new and existing projects for water and power.

“There’s a mix of the basics, poles, pipes and technology...and new development like cleaning up the San Fernando groundwater aquifer and transitioning from coal to clean power,” Lipa said.

A major portion of the revenue for water will be spent on repairing the city’s aging infrastructure.  Many of the city’s water pipes are more than 100 years old, according to DWP. Lipa said a burst water pipe can cause damage and street closures and is ultimately more expensive than the cost of standard maintenance.

Much of the revenue for power will go toward meeting the state's renewable energy goals.

Lipa said even with the rate increase, LADWP customers are expected to receive cheaper bills than residents of San Diego, Pasadena, Long Beach and other California cities.

This is the first LADWP power rate increase since 2012 and the first water increase since 2009.