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The ‘Secret’ Solar Plan Document — 13 reasons Prop. B is a Fraud

Editor’s Note: Judge David Yaffe gave Jack Humphreville and other signatories on the No on Prop. B ballot argument until Dec. 30 to respond to the legal intimidation by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s lawyer who is representing Mitchell Schwartz and the League of Conservation Voters political action committee which claims there are false and misleading statements. Rebuttals are due Jan. 5 and the next hearing is Jan. 8. We are seeking a lawyer and received several offers of donations.
At a news conference Friday, City Council President Eric Garcetti and Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa defended their Proposition B solar energy plan and the mad rush to get it approved after disclosure that a consultant warned it was “extremely risky” and too costly

Garcetti claimed that the public had full knowledge of what was in the report because he used a one-page bullet-point digest of what was in the 26-page report to ask questions at a hearing. The bullet points were prepared by Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller and shown to only a few council members with at least Wendy Greuel and Jan Perry admitting they took little or no notice of it. You can listen heresolar.mp3

Garcetti admitted he did not read the sonsultant’s full report or make public the 13 bullet points. But his office made both available late Friday along with a second report and Miller’s letter attempting to explain away the problem. You can read them all here Solar_initiative_packet.pdf

The critical study was made by PA Consulting Group, which is conducting a five-year review of DWP operations.

Both Garcetti and the mayor insisted all the issues raised in the report — high costs, shortage of supply, lack of trained workers, low efficiency of roof top solar panels among others — were addressed in the final form of Proposition B that voters will decide March 3.

The plan counts on $2 billion in subsidies from the federal government — two-thirds of the total cost. Most of the money will go to China which Garcetti said is ramping up its capacity to make the panels — a fact that undermines City Hall’s claims it will significantly stimulate the local economy and give birth to a local solar technology industry.

The jobs of installing the solar panels will go to the DWP union, the IBEW, which developed the plan in the first place.

Here’s the CLA’s bullet points derived from the consultant’s
report, the sole basis for scrutinizing the most ambitious solar energy
program ever undertaken in the United States:

1. This proposal is “extremely risky.”

2. DWP cannot accomplish this program in the time frame and manner in which it is laid out.

This is an extremely aggressive proposal. The 400 MW represent 143 % of
the solar installed in the entire state and 85 % of the solar installed
in the entire nation.

4. Due to the aggressive moves towards
renewables, materials shortages which are already being experienced
will worsen. This proposal would put significant additional pressure on
supply shortages.  This would not only delay implementation of DWP
programs but likely result in significant increases in cost increases
for materials.

5. While costs could go down over time as
technology is perfected, materials manufacturers come on line and the
infrastructure is in place, there is no indication that such will occur
in the next few years.

6. The reasonable estimate for total is
$3.6 billion but they believe that the program would cost much more. It
is not feasible to do this program at the $1.5 billion “low-end”
estimate by DWP.

7. At $3.6 billion, it is likely that the ECAF
(pass through rate hikes) would have to be increased by 2.5 to 3 times
(from 4 % per year max to 10 % to 12 % per year max) in order to
maintain sufficient revenue flows to maintain bond coverage
requirements and the department’s bond ratings. This would be in
addition to the base rate increases needed.

8. While it is
reasonable to assert that some of the addition costs would be offset by
jobs creation and economic development, no analysis has been done
relative to the number and quality of jobs that will be created and the
time-frame over which the jobs will be created.

9. Contracting
out this work in the early years until the jobs are in place would be
difficult if not impossible due to the size of the program and lack of
availability of contractors and materials.

10. There is probably
enough roof space to do this. However, no other utility is pursuing
such an aggressive roof top program. PGE has the largest effort in the
state, but the vast majority of theirs is solar thermal, which is
expressly prohibited in the proposed ordinance and the labor reps are
adamant about that not being included.

11. A program like this
should not be undertaken until there is a thoroughly vetted approach
for encouraging private property owners to participate and a secure
supply/materials line. PGE has already entered into agreements with
their suppliers for their materials. It should be assumed that it is
unlikely that those suppliers could provide panels for the DWP’s

12. The DWP does not have planning mechanisms and
resources in place to accomplish this program, or for that matter,
their entire 20 % by the 2010 requirement.

13. Due to the DWP’s
high vacant rate, reliability mandates and other issues, it does not
appear the DWP has the capability to adequately take on this program. 

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7 Responses to The ‘Secret’ Solar Plan Document — 13 reasons Prop. B is a Fraud

  1. Sandy Sand says:

    Of course, Garcetti didn’t read the 26-page report; he, the other council members — like congressmen, none of whom read the Patriot Act before voting on it — are too freaking busy making backroom deals and raising money for their next elections.
    Import them from China when we desperately need jobs here? Brilliant! Just brilliant.
    I wish I could remember what they called it or the company that makes it, but a few months ago I saw a relatively low-cost, horizontal, low-profile, rooftop wind catcher on one of the Discovery channels that’s manufacture in this country and has been installed on buildings in several cities including a few in Chicago.
    As far as I know, it’s efficient and sounds more like the way to go.

  2. Sandy S says:

    P.S. Thanks for posting the 13 points.

  3. anonymous says:

    Anytime we have Villar and Nahai conspiring together…we can just assume it’s all about MORE taxes!
    My question is: Are we ALL going to be FORCED to do solar panelling??? I’m still having a hard time reconcilling the fact that I will not be able to use incandescent light bulbs!
    I’m outta here if this is going to be mandatory!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Analysis calls ambitious L.A. solar plan ‘extremely risky’,0,3308872.story
    Council gets ‘secret’ solar panel report,0,5148465.story

  5. Anonymous says:


  6. Your Fav Vet says:

    Can you post the actual court papers or a link to a PDF on your site that shows Mitchell Schwartz and the League of Conservation Voters political action committee as part of this legal action. That would be helpful.

  7. Anonymous says:

    DWP official withdraws $152,000 pension request
    After criticism from City Controller Laura Chick, the DWP’s H. David Nahai said he is dropping the pay boost proposal for his No. 2 executive.
    By David Zahniser
    August 08, 2008
    One day after coming under fire from City Controller Laura Chick, the head of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said this morning he would withdraw a proposal to give a $152,000 pension boost to his No. 2 executive.
    Chick had refused to write a check to DWP chief operating officer Raman Raj, calling theDWP’s offer unprecedented and saying she wanted a public discussion of the proposal by the City Council. Raj receives an annual salary of $247,000.
    DWP general manager H. David Nahai said in a prepared statement that he was dropping the request – part of an agreement to lure Raj to the DWP in December – because of questions about its “appropriateness.”
    “Questions have arisen regarding the advisability of this matter and how it may be perceived,” Nahai said. “We wish to be sensitive to these concerns and responsive to them and have therefore decided to withdraw this request for retirement benefits altogether.”
    Chick said in a statement that she was “pleased” with the decision by DWP officials and hoped that in the future “they remember that their transactions need to hold up under the light of day.”
    “When taxpayer dollars are allocated behind closed doors there is a reason, and usually it’s not a good one,” she said.

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