The 4.5 percent rate hike resubmitted by the Los Angeles City Council Wednesday to the Department of Water and Power's board of commissioners was approved by that body late Thursday, meaning that it will go into effect July 1 and last for at least three months.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa hailed the DWP commission's move: “With the approval of a compromise plan today by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners, the City now has a reasonable rate plan that safeguards the financial health of the DWP while protecting ratepayers,” he said.
“I'd like to thank the members of the Commission who approved this plan that addresses the concerns of ratepayers, commits the DWP to clean, renewable energy and maintains the fiscal well-being of the Department of Water and Power,” the mayor said.
The council and the DWP had battled over the hike, with the council rejecting any hike at all just last month. But with the department then withholding a much-needed $73.5 million payment to the city's general coffers, the two sides worked out a deal that seemed to please both sides. The mayor, who appeared to represent the DWP's interests all along, clearly approves of the hike, even though its the same one the council had offered up last month, to the DWP's dismay at the time.
We won't be surprised if that $73.5 million comes through any day now.
Ratepayers will see a .6 cents-per-kilowatt hour increase in electricity rates at a time of historic unemployment for L.A.'s economy. But the deal will likely help City Hall dodge a bullet: It was set to run out of money May 5, but the DWP payment and an unexpected boost in tax revenues could save the day.