Despite attempts by Councilwoman Jan Perry on Tuesday to get the rest of the City Council to join her and amend a planned electricity rate hike to make it last only three months starting July 1, a permanent increase slid past today's deadline and into the record books.
The Department of Water and Power increase of nearly 5 percent was approved a couple weeks ago, but the many on the council stated they intended it to be temporary and were surprised to learn it was pretty much permanent. Some on the council called for a temporary hike in order to hold any extensions on the increase over the head of the rebellious DWP as City Hall attempts to initiate reforms to make it more transparent and accountable.
The council had the authority to reject the rate hike it approved, but it had to do so today in order for the any changes to take effect by July 1. Perry failed to muster the votes (10) needed to reject the permanent increase. The council voted 9-5 to reject the increase as-is, meaning customers will see about a 4.5 percent rise in electricity rates from July 1 on.
DWP leaders have been holding back a promised $73.5 million payment to the city's general coffers. They wanted the rate hike first.
Is it us? Only in L.A. could the nation's highest-paid City Council approve something — in this case a permanent, 4.8 percent rate hike for city electricity customers — when many believed they were voting on something temporary. Do council members read the fine print? Apparently not. Or maybe the whole saga was a way for the council to give the DWP exactly what it wanted while still appearing to be fighting (fruitlessly against this tail that wags the dog) for the interests of the people.
-With reporting from Weekly wire services. Got news? Email us.
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