As the city is poised to vote Tuesday on whether or not to hike Department of Water and Power rates by 0.8 cents a kilowatt hour starting April 1, Councilman Eric Garcetti says he's going to introduce a competing proposal for an even smaller rate increase.

Garcetti's plan might echo the 0.5 cents per kilowatt hour increase desired by downtown business owners. “I support a smaller increase now to pay for the rising cost of the

energy we purchase …,” Garcetti said. ” … We must also lessen the impact on businesses that provide jobs in our city.''

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa originally proposed a massive, four-step series of rate increases that would expand some DWP customers' monthly payments by as much as 28.4 percent. After receiving some bad press over the timing of the hikes, however, Villaraigosa backed off and got behind the 0.8 percent increase proposal by Councilman Richard Alarcon.

The mayor called his package of utility hikes a “carbon surcharge” that would create thousands of jobs and help get the city off coal-based power. But the City Council put the brakes on his plan, citing the poor economy.

“I don't want to raise the rates, but you know what, they've been raised on us by the private sector, by the folks that control the sources of coal and natural gas,'' Villaraigosa said Monday. “The vast majority of this [Alarcon-proposed] rate will go to pay for those. All we're saying is we want a lockbox for renewables, as well.''

LA Weekly