LA City Council considers DWP electric rate hike

The Los Angeles City Council must decide today whether to assert jurisdiction over a proposed Department of Water and Power electricity rate hike, or allow it to proceed as scheduled on July 1.

The decision will determine whether the DWP transfers $73.5 million into the city's general fund to help balance the budget.

The council's Energy and the Environment Committee is slated to hear a report from legal analysts in the morning, clarifying whether the increase will be permanent or temporary.

Councilwoman Jan Perry, who chairs the committee, said she would decide to oppose or back the rate increase based on the report.

If she asks her colleagues to assert jurisdiction over the issue, that vote by the full council would come around noon. Ten votes are needed to reject the rate hike.

If the council takes no action, the rate increase approved by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners on April 14 will take effect July 1.

After weeks of disagreement, the DWP board adopted the council's recommendation for a rate increase of six-tenths of a cent per kilowatt-hour. Under that formula, the average monthly bill would increase 4.8 percent.

The City Council recommended that the rate hike expire after the first quarter of the fiscal year, with an option of renewing it, but the DWP board approved a permanent increase.