DWP proposes rate increase to pay for system upgrades (July 9, 2015)

Faced with an aging water delivery system, and mandates to reduce reliance on non-renewable power, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power has launched a public relations effort to persuade citizens and city hall of the need for rate increases.

The same day DWP executives presented the proposed five-year plan to commissioners, the department rolled out a new website, myladwp.com, to make its case direcly to the public. With the slogan, Putting customers first, the site includes slickly-produced videos describing the benefits of upgrading the water and power systems, and the increased risk to system reliability if they are not.

The size of the rate increases would vary depending on comsumption level, ranging from 1.4 to 6.1 percent annually. Over five years, the current monthly bill would increase more than 20 percent for those the DWP characterizes as high use residential (monthly consuming 900 kilowatt hours or more of electricity, and 2,700 cubic feet or more of water). At that level, a customer currently pays $292.33. That would go up to $380.52 in 2020. Actual DWP bills are in fact higher because they also include sewage treatment and solid waste collection fees.

The initial proposal presentation did not include details on the rate structure, nor supporting documentation to justify increases.

We’ll have a lot of questions for DWP during the process, said Dr. Fred Pickel, a ratepayer advocate for the city of Los Angeles.


Source: Patrick Healy, NBC Southern California