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Making Fools of 4 Million People: First of Many DWP Rate Hikes Will Hit You April 1

If You Think This DWP Rate Hike Is Bad, the Next One Will Be Worse and
Then the Next . . .

It seemed like the good old days Tuesday when long debates on controversial issues would inevitably end up 8-7 with the majority on the side of what’s good for City Hall and the special interests that it serves.

Those who voted “No” were given a “pass” from the desired unanimity in the name of putting up a front for their constituents and saving their jobs.

That’s more or less what happened Tuesday when Smith, Zine, Parks, Huizar, Alarcon, Krekorian voted against the “emergency” 4 percent DWP power rate hike while Garcetti, Perry, Wesson, La Bonge, Rosendahl, Hahn, Koretz, Reyes voted for it — an 8-6 outcome with Cardenas missing in action. Since the other four Valley members got a pass, you can bet he would have too.

Still, there was a grim satisfaction to the debate climaxing a 2 1/2-week drama set off by the mayor’s sudden declaration that the DWP, despite double-digit rate increases over the last two years and $1 billion in cash on hand, was in financial trouble and that LA desperately needed 20 to 30 percent rate hikes this year to turn its coal plants into clean energy resources overnight.

What little satisfaction there was came from watching the mayor dangling in the wind, repudiated by the Council from almost every direction after having to change his rate hike plan on an almost daily basis. He was finally left with only Richard Alarcon standing with him while the rest of the Council was tearing apart the DWP for deceit, incompetence, secrecy and a host of other deadly sins.

Transparency, accountability, rate payer advocate, public involvement were the catch-words of the day and so was green energy. And that may be the key to the charade we saw — necessary prerequisites for endless rounds of rate hikes that they will impose in the months and years ahead.

The Council voted unanimously for a .1 cent slush fund in the name of green energy, only a third of what the mayor wanted, in addition to the .5 cent increase for the vague catchall Energy Cost Adjustment Factor that also includes funds for green energy. Overall, it’s a 4.5 percent hike when the mayor wanted 6 percent. Grim satisfaction.

What was set in motion was an improved process for screwing the public, driving away business and jobs, cutting deals for green energy that will enrich the mayor’s pals and the unions that live directly and indirectly off the largess of the hostage customers of the DWP.

The DWP Commission will carry out the Council’s orders at 4:30 p.m. today so the rate hikes can take effect Thursday, appropriately April Fool’s Day.

The performance of the DWP Commission as nothing more than a rubber stamp ought to be the nail in the coffin of what was supposed to be a system of citizen watchdogs on government but has become a system of lapdogs providing cover for City Hall’s corruption.

Nonetheless, the debate Tuesday had moments worth sharing: Krekorian’s cogent tearing apart of the myth of a DWP financial crisis, the huffing and puffing of Council members so distraught that Reyes demanded a report on how much the DWP’s power system would bring if sold on the open market and smug performance of Alarcon, a lone wolf legislator who has never gotten anything done except for himself.





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35 Responses to Making Fools of 4 Million People: First of Many DWP Rate Hikes Will Hit You April 1

  1. Anonymous says:

    Didn’t Janice Hahn also vote for the DWP rate hike? BASTARDS!!!! I have to say I was pleased the 6 council members stood their ground against the corrupt idiots on the DWP Commission. Zine is right in stating the Rate Payer Advocate should have a voice with NC’s. I submit the name of Jack Humphreville who has fought hard against these assholes and should be our Advocate not some moron paid for by the DWP. AUDIT AUDIT AUDIT. I’m glad Wesson is asking for all the land assets DWP has and was furious it takes so long to get reports. The people need to Booo loudly the Mayor wherever he goes to show our disapproval of him as our rep. To the council members who voted YES, start talking about getting them OUT OF OFFICE NOW.

  2. Walter Moore says:

    I’ve prepared some charts I’d like you to see, based on the DWP’s audited financial statements.
    When you look at bar graphs showing the DWP’s income and expenses, you see right away what a total scam this rate hike is. The DWP already takes in more than enough money to buy green power, and is in no danger whatsoever of losing its credit rating.
    Here’s the (impossibly long) url of the particular page with the graphs at http://WalterMooreSays.com:
    http://web.mac.com/waltermoore/WalterMooreSays.com/Blog/Entries/2010/3/31_City_Council’s_Taxpayer-Haters_Screwed_You.html

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks Tony, I won my bet. I was certain Cardenas would be “absent” instead of voting against the increase. His recent display of outrage was just a dog and pony show. Look at his record, the coward is often “absent” when he doesn’t want to go down on record.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why was Janice Hahn, Mayor Villaraigosa’s cheerleader, left out as one of the councilwoman who voted for the DWP rate increase? Is it because she is running for Lt. Governor?
    The individuals who complain are the same individuals who will vote for these lack of leadership council members back into office.
    It’s time to say we are not going to take it anymore and voted against them in future elections. Starting with Janice Hahn.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Why was Janice Hahn, Mayor Villaraigosa’s cheerleader, left out as one of the councilwoman who voted for the DWP rate increase? Is it because she is running for Lt. Governor?
    The individuals who complain are the same individuals who will vote for these lack of leadership council members back into office.
    It’s time to say we are not going to take it anymore and vote against them in future elections. Starting with Janice Hahn.

  6. Anonymous says:

    The Los Angeles Mayor Villaraigosa and City Council, who voted against or for rate increases, are the same individuals who allowed the transfer of city workers into proprietary departments, LADWP, LAWA, and LA Port.
    Is this illegal based on the City Charter?
    http://ronkayela.com/budget-mayor-ltr-100204.pdf

  7. Anonymous says:

    Janice Hahn is going to get nailed by Newsom. Regardless of who you think are the lesser of two evils that video of Janice Hahn supporting gang bangers is making the rounds reminding people she is a lying, sneaky, coniveing witch. Just like her collegues in council she can’t be trusted.

  8. Anonymous says:

    To March 31, 2010 3:42 PM,
    Hello Gavin, goodbye Janice.
    The numbers and hype don’t add up. Tonight on the radio, KFI news was reporting this as a crisis with the DWP meeting today and the City Council willing to meet tonight because if they don’t vote before April 1st, they have to wait 3 months. The reporter said that DWP would face insolvency.
    Now isn’t one April fools story? How can DWP have almost $ 1 billion on hand and over $100 million of “surplus” monies to transfer to the City’s General Fund.
    Humphyville and Moore should have been the “go to” guys for all of the news outlets to express another side of the story.
    I guess the working class taxpayers play the fool in this fairytale.

  9. WATCH OUT FOR HERB WESSEN'S IDEAS!!! says:

    Deja vu – Right wing politicians and corporate interests have been trying to sell off DWP and its assets for years and buy it on the cheap.
    Just like selling parking, the Zoo, and municipalities being scammed by bond investment companies – Watch Out.
    It is the working class taxpayer’s who own DWP even though the Mayor and City Council aren’t following their wishes.
    Riordon brought Freeman in to sell off generation in 1999. But the “cumbersome” City Charter didn’t make it fast and quick. DWP held off spending on infrastructure with the anticipation of selling off its generation assets.
    Then, in 2001, came Enron and the phony California energy crisis and DWP was sitting pretty with its excess generation.
    Citizen’s you have the right to demand control over DWP, its expenses, its rates, and its salaries.
    But you should also protect YOUR assets that represented 100 years of your predecessors investments. Don’t let it go down the drain in a one time drunken sale.
    Smith is the best of all of the City Council. But I just hope he doesn’t push to sell off DWP or its assets.

  10. Council calls DWP a "liar" says:

    Ain’t that the kettle calling the pot black?
    I just heard on KFI tonight that Garcetti called DWP a liar when Ramon Raj stated that DWP won’t be able to transfer monies to the City General fund.
    Hilarious, Garcetti calling DWP a liar???

  11. Anonymous says:

    The DWP was in the red before the power crisis in 2001. The sale of its excess power saved the agency and put it back in the black.

  12. Anonymous says:

    But they are now in the black. But the current mismanagement of “going green” overpaying and then dropping out of the green transmission line and giving raises to everybody including the fat cat managers didn’t help.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Riordon brought Freeman in to sell off generation in 1999.
    Actually selling off generation as well as transmission was a requirement of state mandated deregulation. It wasn’t the mayor’s choice and it wouldn’t have mattered who Riordan brought in because any GM would have been required to do it.
    DWP held off spending on infrastructure with the anticipation of selling off its generation assets.
    Transmission as well as generation. It also let go of one third of its workforce in anticipation that they would have nothing to do once the city got rid of these assets. But after all the private utilities went bankrupt, they ended up not having to get rid of anything and DWP was now stuck with a reduced workforce. Yet when D’Arcy talks about needing to hire more workers, people here assume he’s lying even though DWP has nowhere near the 13,000 employees it had running its system prior to deregulation. And the system right now is bigger than a decade ago because of expansion.
    But the current mismanagement of “going green” overpaying and then dropping out of the green transmission line and giving raises to everybody including the fat cat managers didn’t help.
    What on earth are you talking about? Green path North was killed because of the environmentalists and NIMBY’s. And DWP managers are not members of the IBEW so they don’t get those raises.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Ok “March 31, 2010 8:14 PM”, there you go again:
    YOUR FIRST COMMENT – WRONG:
    In any case, municipalities where exempted out of de-regulation, they lobbied for it and by 1999, they weren’t required to be part of it. Riordan and others still wanted to sell off DWP assets even when they were exempted.
    YOUR NEXT TO LAST COMMENT – WRONG:
    The City Council recently voted to give DWP Managers who are part of MEA the same raises that IBEW got. Just ask Jack Humphyville or Ron Kaye.
    I’m not sure where you stand, but hopefully we can agree that it is better not to sell off DWP assets.
    Of course, we should also agree that expenses and salaries should be cut way back.
    Finally, whether we agree or not, my first two points about your remarks are facts and cannot be disputed.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Under Riordan, Freeman got rid of mostly folks who knew how the system functioned. Now, those folks are gone and DArcy holds the cards on labor at DWP.
    If DWP is in fiscal trouble without this rate hike (said by Raman Raj tonight at Board meeting), it is time to reorganize the utility, void the contracts and bring the DWP salaries in line with the rest of the City.
    Then give a rebate to rate payers with money saved.

  16. Anonymous says:

    In any case, municipalities where exempted out of de-regulation, they lobbied for it and by 1999, they weren’t required to be part of it. Riordan and others still wanted to sell off DWP assets even when they were exempted.
    Freeman was brought on in 97. Planning for deregulation including workforce reductions started long before that. Deregulation went into law in 98. Municipal utilities were bailed out at the 11th hour. Prior to that it was expected that municipal utilities would have to adhere to the same laws as IOUs and Freeman had to plan for that. I don’t see where the conflict is.
    The City Council recently voted to give DWP Managers who are part of MEA the same raises that IBEW got. Just ask Jack Humphyville or Ron Kaye.
    This I’m wrong I admit it. I don’t trust Ron Kaye though, he can’t even read the dates on a transfer chart. I like Humpreville – he knows his stuff when it comes to most DWP issues (though I find it kinda odd that a former investment banker is running around telling people they’re overpaid).
    I’m not sure where you stand, but hopefully we can agree that it is better not to sell off DWP assets.
    I agree, for a ton of reasons, not the least being that rates would skyrocket past what’s been complained about on this blog for the past week.
    Of course, we should also agree that expenses and salaries should be cut way back.
    Expenses, I’m not sure what you’re referring to. I disagree with the salary argument because it only holds weight when you compare salaries of workers in other city departments. My opinion is they should be compared with salaries of those in neighboring municipal and private utilities. Because those companies do the same work as DWP, are in the same industry, and draw from the same talent pool.

  17. Anonymous says:

    To March 31, 2010 9:14 PM,
    But to the layperson, why the sudden alarm now with DWP being threatened financially?
    How can that be true while having $1 billion cash on-hand, and surplus monies to transfer as a de facto tax?
    And why is it only this past week, it came to light?
    They can cut the budget big time at DWP just like they did under Patsouras.
    And yes, declare an emergency and break the contracts!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Under Riordan, Freeman got rid of mostly folks who knew how the system functioned. Now, those folks are gone and DArcy holds the cards on labor at DWP.
    Freeman got rid of the oldest workers (via early retirement) and youngest workers (via the buyouts). I don’t see how this correlates to D’Arcy gaining leverage (holding the cards). D’Arcy has no say in what type of person gets hired. Him and Freeman also hate each other.

  19. Jack says:

    Looks like Council finally pushed back; no rate increase this quarter after DWP ignored their recomendations.

  20. Anonymous says:

    How can that be true while having $1 billion cash on-hand, and surplus monies to transfer as a de facto tax?
    Because it’s not true. It’s politics being played as both parties try to gain leverage on each other to get what they want. Raj is basically saying if you don’t give us a rate hike, you won’t get the de facto tax that you shouldn’t be getting in the first place. We’ll keep the surplus money for ourselves.
    Now that I think of it, I kinda wish the council would have refused. That would have solved two problems at once: there’d be no rate hike, and there would be nothing else except the utility tax going into the General Fund! Of course the city would be poorer.
    And yes, declare an emergency and break the contracts!
    The only legal way to do that is the city declaring bankruptcy.

  21. Anonymous says:

    To March 31, 2010 9:46 PM,
    I still stand by my statement that Riordan was pushing for the selling off of generation AFTER municipalities were exempt.
    Regarding salaries, ok, let’s set all salaries of DWP equal to the Pasadena Water & Power.
    Finally, you don’t think DWP is wasteful and shouldn’t cut expenses?
    PS: No Rate Increase at LADWP!! at least for 3 months. Now Humphyville, Kaye, Moore, need to get out and hit the media circuit hard. And keep lobbying.

  22. Anonymous says:

    @ 9:50
    Your first and third questions are right on target. After giving big raises at DWP and completing a $187 million+/- transfer to City, why indeed, is this coming to light now.

  23. Anonymous says:

    To March 31, 2010 10:04 PM,
    And yes, declare an emergency and break the contracts!
    “The only legal way to do that is the city declaring bankruptcy.”
    Even though you have most of your facts wrong and can’t back up the fact that DWP has cash on hand, I will gladly follow your advise and recommend that the City declare bankruptcy to break the DWP Union contracts. That was the best think that you said all night.
    And since you want to compare salaries to neighboring utilities, why don’t you comment on my suggestion that after bankruptcy, DWP set salaries no higher than Pasadena which is a municipal utility that sells water and power.

  24. Anonymous says:

    “I just heard on KFI tonight that Garcetti called DWP a liar when Ramon Raj stated that DWP won’t be able to transfer monies to the City General fund.”
    Remember when Los Angeles Council SET PRECEDENT Eric Garcetti hid the PA Consulting report from the PUBLIC regarding the “extremely risky” Measure B that Angelenos defeated on March 3, 2009.
    Los Angeles Times
    Council gets “Secret” solar report
    http://articles.latimes.com/2008/dec/20/local/me-solar20

  25. Anonymous says:

    Even though you have most of your facts wrong and can’t back up the fact that DWP has cash on hand, I will gladly follow your advise and recommend that the City declare bankruptcy to break the DWP Union contracts. That was the best think that you said all night.
    I have no clue what you’re talking about. I never said anything about DWP having cash on hand. DWP does make a net profit and has a questionable power fund transfer above the utility tax. If that transfer is negated the carbon surcharge would be covered and rate hikes wouldn’t be needed. Even your boy Humpreville agrees with that.
    Far as bankruptcy, I was responding to the other guy who thought the city can just “declare an emergency” and void all contracts. I was telling him the city can only void contracts during bankruptcy and that wasn’t advice but a clarification. Learn some basic reading comprehension.
    I still stand by my statement that Riordan was pushing for the selling off of generation AFTER municipalities were exempt.
    That’s great. Notice how I never said anything that suggested otherwise. If you want to be adamant backing up arguments on issues nobody else is addressing except you, have fun with yourself.
    Finally, you don’t think DWP is wasteful and shouldn’t cut expenses?
    Like I said before, I have no clue what you’re referring to when you says expenses. Pencils? Computers? Transformers? what
    why don’t you comment on my suggestion that after bankruptcy, DWP set salaries no higher than Pasadena which is a municipal utility that sells water and power.
    Because it’s getting late and I had other shit to do. But if you really want a comment, I think it would be fairer to average them between Pasadena, Glendale, Burbank, and California’s private sector. Because the scope of work of DWP is greater than those smaller municipal utilities (100′s of stations vs a handful) but lesser than the IOU’s. On the other hand it’s a step in the right direction because it’s more accurate than thinking a DWP tree surgeon who cuts trees above power lines that can kill him does the same job as a Parks and Rec tree surgeon cutting a tree above a swingset in a park, just because they have the same job class.

  26. Chris Rowe says:

    I think we have already forgotten David Nahai. It seems to me about a year? ago, he did not want to pay a certain amount that the LADWP needed for a parcel of land. Some “friend of the Mayor’s?” came along and bought the parcel – and I think that it was split in half. Then they wanted the LADWP to pay about the same price for half the parcel. Sorry I don’t have the links – I know Ron knows the story.
    We have to be careful what assets we sell off. I am not sure if the Owens Valley is the place for solar. I have not seen any feasibility studies done on that site. But David Freeman says that they “own” the “Owens Valley” “lock, stock, and barrel”.
    We do need as Council member Wesson said – to have an inventory of LADWP assets. We will need to have locations for various alternative energy sites and places for power line transmission.
    I asked Aram Benyamin why the 55MW First Solar project was killed – he said it was because the transmission lines would not go straight to LA – they would route the energy out of state. And you lose efficiency when you do that.
    I think that many Council members were “right on the money”. But I was most pleased with Paul Krekorian – he does seem to get it.
    Paul Krekorian has impressed me not only on this issue, but in the Education and Neighborhoods Committee regarding the Neighborhood Council elections. I have seen him around for years, but I did not know how good he was. He was a win for us in the last election.

  27. Bob G says:

    Hi Ron
    If the only way to put some short term cash into the city budget is to get it from electric rates, then I would appreciate it if the city government would just tell it straight. Tell us how much you think you need, and give an honest statement to the City Council. How about, “We’re nearly broke and if we want to save the city, we need a little more money.” Instead, we’re getting this con job about green power.
    If they want to have green power, they have merely to agree to pay for it from homeowners and property owners who can invest in rooftop solar installations and pipe it right back to the DWP’s electric wires. It works economically in other places, and it would be cheaper to subsidize it this way than by the monstrous subsidies that would be involved under Antonio’s plan. I asked a DWP engineer about this concept at one of their public meetings, and he said it is easy to do the reverse metering on privately owned power that feeds into the grid. The only thing preventing such action is political — it would open the rooftop solar industry to all manner of private contractors and installers, most of whom would not belong to IBEW.
    By the way, the farther you have to transmit electric power, the higher the losses along the way. The method used to minimize losses is to jack the voltage up as high as feasible at the site of power production, send it over the wires, and transform the voltage back down when it gets here. This principle is known to high school students, but somehow the DWP has been talking about putting solar electric up in the Owens Valley. Is that the closest place the sun shines? Obviously not. The point about those giant high voltage lines that cross the desert, is that they come from a place that generates a very large amount of electricity (ie: Hoover dam, for one) so the transmission line losses are economically acceptable. The same goes for the Four Corners and San Onofre, where power plants pump out by the thousands of megawatts. This is very different from siting lots of small scale solar electric panels near to where the energy will be used, resulting in lower line losses and a huge increase in flexibility of installation. In other words, you can install the solar panels a few at a time, connect them to the grid when they are ready, and in this way gradually increase the capacity of the system. That’s very different from building multi-billion dollar generating plants requiring a decade’s worth of planning, financing, building, and fine tuning before the utility ever collects a dollar.
    The system is called a “feed in tariff,” which is jargon for the DWP paying you for putting electricity back into the system.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/13/business/energy-environment/13solar.html

  28. Anonymous says:

    Who is in control the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power?
    Is it LADWP General Manager S. David Freeman, Acting DWP General Manager Raman Raj, Mayor Antonio Ramon Villaraigosa, Mayor Villaraigosa’s Anointed LADWP Commission, LA City Council, or Brian D’Arcy from the Water and Power Defense League, Local 18 (IBEW), who is a major monetary contributor to DWP Mayor Villaraigosa?
    The city council, including the Need to Set Precedent Eric Garcetti, should not be fooled and exercise their independence, and vote against any future rate increases since the Anointed LADWP Commission chose to override the 15 elected officials.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Last night the City Council except for Smith, looked like idiots.
    Janice Hahn was the ultimate fool when she stumbled through and then a light lit up above her head. She proposed a motion whereby the City Council would wave their right to jurisdiction if the DWP Commission would approve the City Council’s rate increase (instead of the Mayors).
    Then the City Attorney kept interrupting and tried to explain the safest procedural way to enact the motion.
    The one thing that the City Council got right, thanks to the City Attorney, was to “veto” what the DWP Commission passed.
    Then Janice tried again, and Councilman Smith said “I’m going to assert my Republican right to filibuster and called for adjournment” At first Herb Wessen mumbled something about not being courteous. Then another Councilman seconded the motion. Since Janice Hahn’s motion was NOT seconded, in the confusion, Smith’s motion was seconded, voted on and passed!
    That was great. At first the City Council was stunned. Then, they must of thought, what the heck, its late, lets go home.

  30. Anonymous says:

    somehow the DWP has been talking about putting solar electric up in the Owens Valley. Is that the closest place the sun shines?
    There are other factors to take into account besides transmission distance – the amount of energy generated at the location, land survey results, who owns the land and whether it can be bought, etc. These are all must be taken into account. It’s why Pinetree Windfarm is located all the way out past Palmdale even though the wind blows constantly near the beach.
    These outbasin solar farms do generate by the Megawatts. Actually I thought the planned generation capacity of the Owens Valley project was well into the Gigawatts.
    Also, you’re assuming solar farms follow the same design paradigm as rooftop solar but they don’t. Rooftop solar generates a very small amount of electricty and transmits excess electricity backwards into the distribution end of the grid. Solar farms are designed to have a high collective power output that enters on the transmission side and parallels the high power output of turbine based generation. Many of these solar farms aren’t even photovoltaic and instead use technologies you wouldn’t be able to put on your roof (IE Nevada Solar One uses giant mirrors to heat tubes of liquid).

  31. Bob G says:

    Point well taken. I’m aware of the SCE projects that built mirror farms back in the 1990s. That whole line of research does not seem to have progressed very far — perhaps it’s because solar has always been more expensive than more traditional alternatives, because coal and natural gas have been relatively cheap over the years. Still, you have to wonder why DWP is flogging the notion of large, centralized operations, whether they be at nearby or 300 miles away, when the competing paradigm of small, locally distributed, privately owned solar feed-in is working successfully in Canada, parts of the U.S., and Europe.
    My best guess is that ownership by the DWP and jobs for its own workforce are the not-so-hidden agenda.
    I must confess that I don’t watch or listen to our City Council deliberations much, but I haven’t heard of the council saying one single solitary thing about buying power locally from its own customers.
    How about we discuss this at lancc this weekend Ron?

  32. Anonymous says:

    I know the photovoltaics have gotten way more efficient. I’m not sure about the parabolic mirrors though there are a ton of variations on the technology.
    As far as solar panel installations on homes that would use the feed-in tariff system, I really don’t think the IBEW and jobs has anything to do with it.
    DWP usually stays away from doing construction on private property to begin with. For one there a ton of legal issues involved. If you refuse they can’t do anything. If they were to damage your property while they’re on it, they’d be held liable. There are also logistical issues that would arise from them being on private property. And as far as solar panels go, the energy yield for a typical residence relative to the entire portfolio is so low, it’s more cost effective to let homeowners install the equipment themselves and give them a rebate.
    Where the IBEW would get involved is in installing solar panels on city owned property (Measure B) and in constructing outbasin solar stations. Measure B was killed by the voters so solar stations are the remaining option.

  33. Flo says:

    Hi , Happy Fool’s Day!!
    A Texan farmer goes to Australia for a vacation. There he meets an Aussie farmer and gets talking. The Aussie shows off his big wheat field and the Texan says, “Oh! We have wheat fields that are at least twice as large.”
    Then they walk around the ranch a little and the Aussie shows off his herd of cattle. The Texan immediately says, “We have longhorns that are at least twice as large as your cows.”
    The conversation has, meanwhile, almost died when the Texan sees a herd of kangaroos hopping through the field. He asks, “And what are those?”
    The Aussie asks with an incredulous look, “Don’t you have any grasshoppers in Texas?”
    Happy April Fool’s Day!

  34. Bob G says:

    The idea behind feed in tariffs (ie: the DWP paying you for electricity your roof-top solar panels produce) is that the DWP does not build them or own them. You can take out a bank loan and have a private contractor do the work if you like the terms, or you can avoid doing so. The economic decision depends on a couple of things — how much the contractor wants to charge you, how much interest the bank wants to charge on the loan, and most importantly, how much the DWP will pay you for the electricity your rooftop produces. If the DWP (or Gainsville, Florida or Munich) pays enough for your electricity, it becomes economical for you to invest your own money (and the bank’s) in green power.
    It has been shown to work other places. The last thing we need is DWP employees having a monopoly on installing solar power on private property. Actually, there is also a case for bidding out solar installations on public property too.

  35. Michael King says:

    Ron,
    I have been following your blog for the last few months since I have started my own blog discussing policy and planning issues in California, and focusing on the Los Angeles region. I took great interest in this post for a variety of reasons. First, the DWP affects all residents in Los Angeles, and it has been very interesting to follow this battle between the mayor and DWP and City Council. The policy issues that are involved with this issue are something I have been following as a student of Policy, Planning, and development at the University of southern California. This ongoing fight at City Hall is something that I believe to be indicative and representative of the politics and policy decisions of Los Angeles. To even think of increased rates and a possible rate hike upwards of 20% over the next year is scary to many citizens of this city. At this point in time, city government should be finding ways to cut costs to themselves, residents, and business owners. I was interested to read the post you wrote today, April 5, showing the mayor’s ties to the green energy industry and what may be his motivation for all of this. I read in an LA Times article today that even the representative for the DWP workers’ union said that the mayor should have compromised at 4.5% rate increase.
    Through following the City Council, the mayor, and many city officials, I have found that many policy decisions and actions in the last few years have lacked courage on the part of everyone at City Hall and have not helped the fiscal situation here in Los Angeles, but continue to harm it. Looking at the latest vote on the issue last Tuesday, Councilman Cardenas didn’t even show up to vote. A councilman that represents the San Fernando Valley, which will be affected a great deal with these rate increases, didn’t even show up to vote on the issue and represent his constituents, it lacks courage. Los Angeles continues to add to the payroll, and continues to increase DWP rates. Something needs to change, someone needs to step up. It will take courage but someone needs to do it.

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