Schwarzenegger Backs Mayor Villaraigosa's DWP Rate Hike

On a day when the Los Angeles Times reported that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's proposed DWP rate hikes of as much as 28.4 percent are only the tip of the iceberg for L.A.'s electricity customers, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger issued an endorsement of the mayor's plan.

"This new proposal is great news for Los Angeles and California," Schwarzenegger said, "it will promote the growth of clean, reliable energy in our communities while creating jobs in the clean-tech industry when we need them most."

Villaraigosa has touted his rate hikes as a "carbon reduction surcharge" intended to reduce L.A.'s dependence on coal-fueled power by 20 percent in 2010 while also creating thousands of jobs as the city retrofits its homes and businesses with solar power and other energy efficient tools.

However, the mayor this week also warned that if the council doesn't back the first of four planned hikes under his carbon-surcharge plan Tuesday that the millions of dollars the DWP sends to the cash-strapped city could be in jeopardy. Villaraigosa even said the city could go bankrupt without the extra cash from DWP's captive customers.

The department is already threatening to withhold a planned $73 million payment to the city's general fund over the fee-hike battle. The City Council defied the mayor this week by voting to review the hike instead of letting it become fact April 1. But KNX 1070 Newsradio reported Friday that the council will likely let the hike happen during its Tuesday meeting.

The Times reports that the DWP is planning further hikes that would represent a 37 percent increase above current rates.


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