MORE

Vent To L.A. City Council Tonight About DWP

Vent To L.A. City Council Tonight About DWP

A special City Council committee will meet tonight at 6 at the Mar Vista Rec Center Auditorium -- 11430 Woodbine Street -- to hear public comment about reforming the Department of Water and Power.

DWP has been an embattled agency, especially since the Spring, which the Weekly called, "City Hall's 2010 DWP Debacle." After the jump, a review of some of the problems.

Earlier this year DWP fought for a rate hike of up to 28 percent, but met significant resistance from the City Council. Also, in early April the public utility refused to hand over $73.5 million in surplus to the city general fund, saying it couldn't without negatively affecting its bond rating. City Hall went into crisis mode -- the mayor suggested shutting down government two days a week -- and accused the utility of extorting the city council for the rate hike.

City Controller Wendy Greuel released a June audit asserting that the agency had the money and could have handed it over without risk to its bond rating. And the agency misled the city about the matter, Greuel charged.

Meanwhile, the utility is being led, on an interim basis, by friend-of-the-mayor and private equity maven Austin Beutner. He's busy cost-cutting.

The department has had numerous general managers in recent years, and finding a new one won't be easy. Answering to a new proposed ratepayer advocate won't likely make the job more attractive.

DWP ran into more trouble earlier this year when TV news caught workers drinking, going to a strip club and napping on the job, burnishing the already stellar public image of public employees.