LADWP Aprueba Transferencia de $241M, Críticos Argumentan Sobre Robo

December 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Una transferencia anual polémica de cientos de millones de dólares del Departamento de Agua y Energía de Los Ángeles (LADWP) al fondo general de la ciudad fue aprobada unánimemente el martes por la junta directiva de la agencia.

La ciudad tiene una política duradera de transferir el 8 por ciento de los ingresos del LADWP al fondo general para ayudar a equilibrar el presupuesto de la ciudad. El pago ha sido rutinariamente de alrededor de $250 millones durante años, pero los críticos han argumentado que equivale a un impuesto ilegal.

La ciudad ha estado cerca de resolver varias demandas sobre el pago anual, lo que le permitiría continuar, pero a un ritmo reducido, y el pago aprobado de $241.8 millones refleja el nivel propuesto de acuerdo de liquidación, que es aproximadamente $25 millones menos del año pasado.

Los Comisionados de la Junta de Agua y Energía de Los Ángeles aprobaron el tema con poca discusión.

Después de que el presidente del Comité de Defensa de DWP – que representa a los consejos vecinales en asuntos relacionados con el departamento – formuló preguntas sobre la legalidad de la transferencia durante el período de comentarios públicos, el adjunto fiscal municipal Joseph Brajevich dijo a la comisión: “El pago es legal”.

Consumer Watchdog y otros críticos argumentan que la transferencia anual es una violación de la Proposición 26, una medida estatal del 2010 que dice que los cargos por servicios gubernamentales deben estar vinculados al costo de proporcionar el servicio.

“Podría tratarse de una matanza matutina para los contribuyentes con casi un cuarto de billón de dólares tomados erróneamente para llenar la brecha presupuestaria de la Ciudad de Los Ángeles”, dijo el presidente de Consumer Watchdog, Jamie Court, antes de la votación. “Este dinero equivale al robo de los contribuyentes. Estos dólares deberían ir a arreglar la infraestructura defectuosa de DWP o ser reembolsados a los contribuyentes”.

La portavoz del LADWP se negó a comentar sobre la transferencia y la acusación de Consumer Watchdog de que viola la Proposición 26.

El acuerdo propuesto por la ciudad para las demandas reduciría el pago anual al limitar el 8 por ciento tomado del fondo LADWP de las tarifas determinadas por una ordenanza aprobada en 2008, que es una tasa menor que una medida aprobada en 2016.

Un representante de Consumer Watchdog dijo que la ley aún debería prohibir las tomas futuras de los contribuyentes sin el voto del público y que está considerando sus opciones legales.

LADWP Transfers $250M to City Coffers

November 29, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

A controversial annual transfer of hundreds of millions of dollars from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power to the city’s general fund was unanimously approved Tuesday by the agency’s governing board.

The city has a longstanding policy of transferring 8 percent of the LADWP’s revenue to the general fund to help balance the city’s budget. The payment has routinely been around $250 million for years, but critics have argued that it amounts to an illegal tax.

The city has been close to settling several lawsuits over the annual payment, which would allow it to continue but at a reduced rate, and this year’s approved payment of $241.8 million reflects the proposed settlement agreement level, which is down about $25 million from last year.

The Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners approved the item with little discussion.

After the president of the DWP Advocacy Committee – that represents neighborhood councils in matters related to the department – raised questions about the legality of the transfer during the public comment period, Assistant City Attorney Joseph Brajevich told the commission, “The payment is legal.” He offered no further explanation and was not asked to do so by any commissioners.

Consumer Watchdog and other critics argue the annual transfer is a violation of Proposition 26, a 2010 state ballot measure that says charges for government services must be linked to the cost of providing the service.

“This could be a Tuesday morning massacre for ratepayers with nearly one quarter of a billion dollars wrongly taken to fill the City of Los Angeles’s budget gap,” Consumer Watchdog President Jamie Court said before the vote. ”This money amounts to theft from ratepayers. These dollars should go to fixing the DWP failing infrastructure or be rebated to ratepayers.”

An LADWP spokeswoman declined to comment on the transfer and the accusation from Consumer Watchdog that it violates Prop. 26.

The city’s proposed settlement of the lawsuits would reduce the annual payment by capping the 8 percent taken from the LADWP fund from rates determined by an ordinance approved in 2008, which is a lower rate than a measure approved in 2016.

A Consumer Watchdog representative said the law should still bar future takings from ratepayers without a vote of the public and that it is considering its legal options.

MWD Commits Billions of Dollars to Gov.’s Delta Water Tunnels

October 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Opponents of a plan for Southern California water users to help pay for a much debated water project supported by Gov. Jerry Brown were on the losing end of the argument Tuesday, when the board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted to commit billions to the venture.

The estimated $17 billion project, which is officially known as the California WaterFix, would divert water from the Sacramento River as it enters the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and carry it to existing federal and state pumping stations in the southern part of the delta through two 35-mile tunnels.

Approval of the project ultimately lies with the state’s water boards, and the MWD’s vote does not guarantee that it will be built because enough water districts need to vote in favor for it to move forward. The MWD’s commitment to the project would be about $4.3 billion.

The vote was 28-6 in favor of funding the tunnels, with two abstentions and two members who did not vote.

The vote by the MWD was considered by some observers to be a make-or-break decision on the tunnels, as another major water agency, the Westlands Water District, last month rejected helping to pay for the project. The Coachella Valley Water District Board of Directors voted in favor of the
project Tuesday.

Brown recently said that if the project does not get fully funded, a scaled-down version could be approached.WEB MWD Delta Tunnels

The MWD is a wholesale water supplier which, along with the Los Angeles Aqueduct, accounts for roughly 85 percent of the city’s water supplies, with the total amount depending on the year’s environmental conditions.

The agency is funded through property taxes and the price it charges for its water, so a decision by its board to help pay for the tunnels would affect Los Angeles’ ratepayers and property owners. MWD General Manager Jeffrey Kightlinger said funding the tunnels would not result in higher taxes because the project would be paid for through the agency’s regular rate structure.

The 38-member MWD board represents each of the district’s 26 member agencies, including five members appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti.

The L.A. City Council has no direct control over the MWD board and can only advise how it votes. Councilman Paul Koretz introduced a resolution on Friday calling on the City Council to officially oppose the project, but it was not voted on before the MWD board vote.

Some environmental groups are opposed to the project, including the Sierra Club and Food and Water Watch, which argue the tunnels could be harmful to the environment and not worth the cost.

“Food and Water Watch is disappointed by Metropolitan Water District’s vote to allocate more than $4 billion toward a wasteful Delta Tunnels project that would force higher water bills and property taxes on Southern California families,” Brenna Norton of Food and Water Watch said. “It is unfair to raise rates for a project that will needlessly make Southern California’s water more expensive, while benefiting corporate agribusinesses that grow excessive amounts of almonds and pistachios in the desert for export.”

 

The tunnels are supported by Brown, who has argued they will help the environment by protecting fish and also securing a more reliable delivery system for the water.

The tunnels would cost L.A.’s ratepayers an average of $1.73 per month in 2017 dollars, according to a report by Fred Pickel, director of the city’s Office of Public Accountability, who acts as a watchdog of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Food and Water Watch has argued the cost will be higher than Pickel is estimating and could raise household water bills from $7 to $16 per month for over 40 years.

Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, said the project will raise rate and provide no increased reliability in water service.

“MWD may have won the battle, but we know the tunnels will never be built because economics, science and law will carry us through the permitting processes and litigation, ensuring victory,” she said.

But Charles Wilson, executive director of the nonprofit Southern California Water Committee, said the MWD vote “marks a historic day in ensuring the vitality of the Southern California region.”

“Water is life, and for the many cities in Southern California that depend on the Sierra Nevadas for the water supply, California WaterFix is mission critical,” he said.

Big Pay Hikes OK’d for LADWP Workers

June 29, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Members of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s most powerful union will see a significant bump in pay, with the City Council’s approval Wednesday of a new contract for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18.

The deal was approved 11-3 despite three council members’ objections to the speed with which it came to the council for a vote, having skipped a committee hearing after the Board of Water and Power Commissioners approved the contract last week.

Councilmen Mitch O’Farrell, David Ryu and Mike Bonin, who cast the dissenting votes, said they felt the process lacked transparency.

“The approval of this plan without greater discussion, public outreach or deeper analysis undermines the public’s trust in their local government,” Ryu said.

Bonin said he learned the details of the deal and that it was coming to a vote though the media

“I’m disturbed, as are a few others, by this process, and there is still information I feel I don’t have,” Bonin said.

Councilman Joe Buscaino, who ultimately voted for the deal, also said he learned of the contract details through the media.

“This process stunk. One cannot assume approval of a contract without proper vetting. We heard about this contract through a number of media reports.

In the five years I’ve been here through city contracts, my office and myself were at least briefed on what to expect,” Buscaino said.

The deal, which has the support of Mayor Eric Garcetti, continues the practice of union workers not contributing toward their health care costs — a benefit not enjoyed by all city workers.

The new contract has been criticized by some as being too generous — to the point that it could cause other city unions to ask for raises — as well as for being fast-tracked to a vote.

The contract gives six raises over five years for the IBEW Local 18’s 9,000 members at a total rate of about 13 percent to 22 percent, depending on the consumer price index. It also ends the union’s $4 million controversial annual contribution to two nonprofits, the Joint Training Institute and the Joint Safety Institute, which have been heavily criticized due to a lack of transparency as to how they were spending and tracking the money.

The contract will cost an estimated $56 million annually, but will not impact the city’s general fund as it will be funded via adjustments to the LADWP’s budget, according to an LADWP commission memo.

Fred Pickle, executive director of the LADWP’s Office of Public Accountability, said because the department routinely comes in under budget each year, the raises would not likely result in higher rates for customers.

When Garcetti ran for mayor in 2013, one of his chief issues was a promise to bring sweeping changes to the LADWP. That pledge made him an enemy of the IBEW, which spent $2 million supporting his opponent, then-City Controller Wendy Greuel. Once elected, Garcetti blocked the approval of a four-year contract with the IBEW so he could renegotiate a new deal that resulted in no raises for the union.

“Public unions are major donors to City Hall political campaigns, so perhaps it should be no surprise if elected officials are reluctant to drive a hard bargain. But this contract could sure use more analysis and public debate,” the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board wrote while also criticizing Garcetti for not driving a harder bargain this time around after his landslide re-election in March.

Interim Chief Administrative Officer Rich Llewellyn said the deal was not a template for future deals with other unions and contended the raises are needed to keep LADWP workers from leaving to work for other cities.

An audit of the LADWP released earlier this year by City Controller Ron Galperin found that the utility spends about $40 million a year on apprenticeship programs that only graduate about 51 percent or fewer of their enrollees, and that many of the graduates go to other utilities to get better salaries.

“This contract moves us in the direction of much-needed reforms, specifically ending ratepayer funding of the two nonprofit training institutes that I audited in 2015, and offering a retention incentive for certain workers who are expensive to train and frequently lured away by private utilities,” Galperin said. “At the same time, I’m not convinced that all of the across-the-board increases were justified by the need to attract and retain employees at the DWP. We must be watchful stewards of ratepayer money.”

Llewellyn said the elimination of the payment to the two institutes was a big win for the city.

When pressed by some council members as to why the city didn’t push harder on healthcare contributions, Llewellyn said, “We pushed on everything … We pushed on everyone, and they pushed back on everyone. And we ended up in the middle with what I believe is a reasonable deal.”

June 29, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Members of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s most powerful union will see a significant bump in pay, with the City Council’s approval Wednesday of a new contract for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 18.

The deal was approved 11-3 despite three council members’ objections to the speed with which it came to the council for a vote, having skipped a committee hearing after the Board of Water and Power Commissioners approved the contract last week.

Councilmen Mitch O’Farrell, David Ryu and Mike Bonin, who cast the dissenting votes, said they felt the process lacked transparency.
“The approval of this plan without greater discussion, public outreach or deeper analysis undermines the public’s trust in their local government,” Ryu said.

Bonin said he learned the details of the deal and that it was coming to a vote though the media.

“I’m disturbed, as are a few others, by this process, and there is still information I feel I don’t have,” Bonin said.

Councilman Joe Buscaino, who ultimately voted for the deal, also said he learned of the contract details through the media.

“This process stunk. One cannot assume approval of a contract without proper vetting. We heard about this contract through a number of media reports.

In the five years I’ve been here through city contracts, my office and myself were at least briefed on what to expect,” Buscaino said.
The deal, which has the support of Mayor Eric Garcetti, continues the practice of union workers not contributing toward their health care costs — a benefit not enjoyed by all city workers.

The new contract has been criticized by some as being too generous — to the point that it could cause other city unions to ask for raises — as well as for being fast-tracked to a vote.

The contract gives six raises over five years for the IBEW Local 18’s 9,000 members at a total rate of about 13 percent to 22 percent, depending on the consumer price index. It also ends the union’s $4 million controversial annual contribution to two nonprofits, the Joint Training Institute and the Joint Safety Institute, which have been heavily criticized due to a lack of transparency as to how they were spending and tracking the money.

The contract will cost an estimated $56 million annually, but will not impact the city’s general fund as it will be funded via adjustments to the LADWP’s budget, according to an LADWP commission memo.

Fred Pickle, executive director of the LADWP’s Office of Public Accountability, said because the department routinely comes in under budget each year, the raises would not likely result in higher rates for customers.

When Garcetti ran for mayor in 2013, one of his chief issues was a promise to bring sweeping changes to the LADWP. That pledge made him an enemy of the IBEW, which spent $2 million supporting his opponent, then-City Controller Wendy Greuel. Once elected, Garcetti blocked the approval of a four-year contract with the IBEW so he could renegotiate a new deal that resulted in no raises for the union.

“Public unions are major donors to City Hall political campaigns, so perhaps it should be no surprise if elected officials are reluctant to drive a hard bargain. But this contract could sure use more analysis and public debate,” the Los Angeles Times Editorial Board wrote while also criticizing Garcetti for not driving a harder bargain this time around after his landslide re-election in March.

Interim Chief Administrative Officer Rich Llewellyn said the deal was not a template for future deals with other unions and contended the raises are needed to keep LADWP workers from leaving to work for other cities.

An audit of the LADWP released earlier this year by City Controller Ron Galperin found that the utility spends about $40 million a year on apprenticeship programs that only graduate about 51 percent or fewer of their enrollees, and that many of the graduates go to other utilities to get better salaries.

“This contract moves us in the direction of much-needed reforms, specifically ending ratepayer funding of the two nonprofit training institutes that I audited in 2015, and offering a retention incentive for certain workers who are expensive to train and frequently lured away by private utilities,” Galperin said. “At the same time, I’m not convinced that all of the across-the-board increases were justified by the need to attract and retain employees at the DWP. We must be watchful stewards of ratepayer money.”

Llewellyn said the elimination of the payment to the two institutes was a big win for the city.

When pressed by some council members as to why the city didn’t push harder on healthcare contributions, Llewellyn said, “We pushed on everything … We pushed on everyone, and they pushed back on everyone. And we ended up in the middle with what I believe is a reasonable deal.”

Breves de la Comunidad

November 10, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Boyle Heights

(CNS)- La policía de Los Ángeles persiguió a un automovilista desde el Centro de Los Ángeles hasta Boyle Heights el 8 de noviembre. Una persona fue arrestada y dos otros fueron tiroteados.

La persecución comenzó alrededor de las 10:20 a.m. cerca del bloque 300 de la Calle Wall y continuó hacia la autopista 5, hacia el sur de Santa Ana cerca de la Calle Calzona. Fue entonces cuando el vehículo se estrelló, según el Departamento de Policía de Los Ángeles.

El vehículo estaba en búsqueda en relación con un delito en un dispensario de marihuana, dijo la policía.

El Sereno

(CNS)- Por casi cinco horas un hidrante cortado derramó agua a causa de un golpe por un motorista en la comunidad de El Sereno el 4 de noviembre.

El choque ocurrió alrededor de las 2:30 a.m. cerca de Klamath Place y la Avenida Eastern, de acuerdo a un comandante del la Estación de Hollenbeck del Departamento de Polícia de Los Ángeles.

El conductor huyó a pie, dejando atrás a un Dodge Gris, describió el sargento.

Un equipo del Departamento de Agua y Energía de Los Ángeles llegó a reparar los daños cerrar el agua.

Highland Park

(CNS)- Los bomberos controlaron un incendio en el nivel superior de un hogar de dos pisos en Highland Park el 5 de noviembre, dijeron las autoridades.

El incidente fue reportado a las 2:32 p.m. en el 125 South Avenue 60, dijo Brian Humphrey, portavoz del Departamento de Bomberos de Los Ángeles.

El incendio fue contenido a las 3:10 p.m, y los dos adultos que fueron evacuados según declinaron recibir cuidado de los paramédicos.

La causa y el monto de pérdida aún está por determinarse, dijo Humphrey.

Este De Los Ángeles

(CNS)- Una rotulo que designa el intercambio de las Autopistas 10 hacia San Bernardino y la 710 hacia Long Beach fue revelado el 8 de noviembre en memoria del comisionado del condado de Los Ángeles, Thomas H. Pohlman.

Una ceremonia tomó lugar en el Biscailuz Center Training Academy en el Este de Los Ángeles.

Pohlman murió por un disparo que un sospechoso le dio durante una lucha mientras era arrestado.

El sospechoso obtuvo el control de Pohlman y le disparó entre los ojos durante la lucha y Pohlman fue declarado muerto en la escena. La esposa de Pohlman, Jenny, estaba embarazada de su hija en el momento de su asesinato.

Working Toward Victory

September 22, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Hoping to make an impressive showing at the 2017 Academic Decathalon, students from Roosevelt High School spent last Saturday honing their knowledge of World War II history during an LAUSD HIPP Academic Decathlon Workshop sponsored by the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power and held at LADWP’s John Ferraro Building in downtown Los Angeles. More than 250 students took part in the session. Pictured from left, Leslie Torres, Carlos Gonzalez, Maneri Roman and Adan Robles and coach Jason Yan stand before a map of Europe in 1930 during the workshop.

(Courtesy of LADWP)

(Courtesy of LADWP)

DWP Board Toughens Turf Replacement Rules

August 18, 2016 by · 1 Comment 

The Board of Water and Power Commissioners Tuesday tightened up the criteria for granting turf removal rebates, under which synthetic turf and mulch will  no longer be allowed and more rainfall capture features and plant coverage will be required.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power gives out $1.75 for each square foot of grass lawn that is removed. To be eligible for the incentive under the new rules, projects must:

— not include synthetic turf or mulch;

— feature rainfall capture elements such as infiltration and on-site storage for re-use;
— have landscaping in which native or climate-appropriate plants cover at least 50 percent of the converted area when mature; and
— limit rock, gravel and decomposed granite to no more than 25 percent of the converted area.

The changes also include a recommendation for rebate recipients to use natural or organic weed barriers.

Councilman Paul Koretz pushed for the changes.

“As we continue our essential water conservation rebates, we absolutely need to maximize the bang for our bucks,” he said. “The watershed approach achieves multiple benefits and, spread widely, can help the city reduce its $8 billion stormwater compliance bill.”

The changes are aimed at helping the city reach Mayor Eric Garcetti’s goal of cutting imported water use by 50 percent, and attaining other sustainability goals, according to Koretz’s office.

Extreme Heat Causing Power Outages

June 20, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

Record-setting temperatures in the Southland climbed well past the 100-degree mark on the hottest day of a brutal three-day heat wave, causing widespread power outages, raging wildfires and prompting officials to issue excessive heat warnings.

A Flex-Alert was in effect until 9 p.m. today by the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO), the state agency that matches private and public electricity generating resources to the amount of demand.

The heat was blamed for at least some of the outages reported yesterday and today by Southern California Edison. At one point today, more than 20,000 SCE customers were without power, but restorations brought that number down to about 11,600 at 3 p.m., with the majority of those outages occurring in Los Angeles and Ventura Counties, a spokesperson said.

One outage in Downey today impacted as many as 13,500 SCE customers, but crews were able to reduce that number to about 2,600 by 3 p.m.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported 17 outages in its service area, with nearly 5,000 customers impacted as of 4 p.m. Officials said crews are working to restore power as soon as possible.

SCE officials said most of the outages were caused by equipment failure.

A Flex-Alert is a request for customers to voluntarily conserve electricity, including turning off unneeded lighting, postponing the use of major appliances including washing machines and dryers, and setting air conditioning thermostats to 78 degrees or higher.

The LADWP urged residents to prepare for possible power outages by having flashlights and batteries readily available and keeping a battery-operated radio handy. Officials also recommended that people keep a phone charger in a car to ensure they can contact friends or relatives during an outage, keep a supply of non-perishable food and have a cooler available to use for food that needs to be refrigerated.

A red-flag warning signifying a risk of wildfire will be in effect until 8 p.m. Tuesday in the San Gabriel Mountains and through 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Santa Barbara mountains and south coast, where the 7,892-acre Sherpa Fire continued to burn.

Amid soaring temperatures and bone-dry conditions, a pair of fast-moving brush fires tore through vegetation today in the Angeles National Forest and the foothills above Duarte and Azusa, exploding across more than 2,000 acres. Firefighters from the U.S. Forest Service and the Los Angeles County Fire Department were battling the blazes, but there was no containment as of mid- afternoon.

The National Weather Service warned that very high temperatures, humidity dipping into single digits at times and locally gusty winds will increase fire danger in the area through Tuesday.

Burbank reached 107 degrees at 10:19 a.m. today, topping the record for this day of 106 degrees, set in 2008, according to the NWS. Los Angeles International Airport had a temperature of 95 degrees at 8:43 a.m., topping the 1973 record for this day of 92 degrees, but forecasters say a shift in winds
quickly dropped temperatures at the airport to the upper 70s before it began rising again as the day wore on.

Minor relief was expected in coastal and valley areas beginning Tuesday, but the San Gabriel Mountains and the Santa Clarita Valley were to remain dangerously hot.

“Dangerous heat-related illness is possible, especially for sensitive populations, those conducting outdoor activities, and people without access to air conditioning,” the NWS said.

Dr. Karen Smith, California Department of Public Health director and State Public Health officer, underscored the seriousness of the hazards posed by high temperatures.

“Heat-related emergencies cause dozens of deaths in California each year and prompt thousands of people to seek treatment at local emergency rooms,” Smith said. “In 2006, nearly 200 people died in California from extreme heat. High temperatures need to be taken very seriously. People should protect themselves and watch out for others who might be vulnerable.”

The Department of Public Health recommends that Southern Californians stay safe during the heat wave by:

— keeping an eye on weather forecasts and alerts from local officials;

— learning to recognize heat-related illnesses;

— staying out of direct sunlight and staying hydrated;
— reducing physical activity;
— identifying a cool location — a mall, library, theater or designated cooling center; the Los Angeles Police Department recommends calling 311 within city limits and 211 within county limits to find the nearest cooling station;

— wearing lightweight, loose-fitting clothing and sunscreen;

— checking on pets, friends, family and neighbors who may be especially sensitive to excessive heat.

Additionally, the NWS notes that anyone overcome by the high temperatures should call 911 because heat stroke is an emergency.

The county agency and NWS forecasters also reminded residents they should never leave people or pets in enclosed vehicles, even for a few minutes.

Animal services officials say pet owners must make sure their animals are kept cool during the heat wave. They should watch for signs of heat stroke, such as fast and noisy breathing, difficulty swallowing and distressed behavior.

If heat stroke is suspected, pet owners should place a cold, wet towel on the back of the animal’s head, and towel-wrapped cold compresses on their back legs and belly. The pet should be immediately taken to a veterinarian to be checked.

L.A. Approves DWP Rate Increases

March 3, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday tentatively approved hikes to electricity and water rates for Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers.

The council voted 12-2 to concur with the LADWP board to adopt the water and electricity rate increases, which are to be spread out over the next five years.

Because the decision was not unanimous — Councilmen Mitch Englander and Gil Cedillo cast the dissenting votes — the rate proposals will return for a second vote. Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson was not present for the votes.

Under the water rate plan, the average customer will see a 4.76 percent annual increase, amounting to an additional $3 per month. A monthly bill of $57.79 for the typical residential water user would increase to an average rate of $72.90 at the end of the five-year period, according to an example in a staff report.

With the electricity rate increases, the typical single-family household in Los Angeles could see monthly electricity bills go up a total of $12 over five years.

The council only has the ability to affirm or deny the rate hike plans, which were previously approved by the LADWP board comprised of members appointed by the mayor.

The City Council also approved a set of recommendations aimed at helping LADWP to ensure the projected additional revenue will go toward projects and activity that improve or maintain the efficiency and reliability of water and power service.

Councilman Felipe Fuentes, who chairs the Energy and Environment Committee, said Wednesday he has “reservations” about the electricity rate hike plan, but feels “we have to move forward.”

“The consequences of not doing something really outweigh the impacts of what’s being proposed,” he said.

Utility officials say the rate increases are necessary to upgrade aging water pipes, make energy use more reliable and meet environmental mandates, though some in the city have noted that the hikes will not be nearly enough.

“These rate adjustments are frankly minimal” and are aimed at fulfilling environmental, legal and financial obligations, LADWP General Manager Marcie Edwards said.

But without taking steps to reorganize the utility to rein in bureaucratic and other types of inefficiencies, Edwards said she is “not willing to ask our customers owners for more” at this time.

Edwards’ statements come as city leaders are weighing a November ballot initiative to change the governance structure of the LADWP, including bringing in full-time, paid members to the utility’s board.

The rate hike plans have key support from Mayor Eric Garcetti, environmental groups, neighborhood council leaders and business groups such as the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Noting that he represents some of the poorest areas in the city, Cedillo said he could not vote for another rate increase while the city is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis.

“As Chair of Housing I understand tenants are rent burdened enough, with at least half of all households spending more than 30% of their monthly income on housing, with significant numbers paying more than 50% of their income for housing costs,” Cedillo said.

More than 2,000 letters protesting the rate increase were submitted, according to the city clerk, but they were not enough to constitute a majority opposition to the rate hikes.

The relative ease in preliminarily adopting the increases Wednesday marks a departure from the battle that occurred in 2010 when the LADWP last proposed a major increase to rates.

Councilman Paul Koretz noted that the support for the rate increases is “actually pretty remarkable.”

“We wound up with quite a group of supporters of every stripe, including many that are usually very cranky about this kind of thing,” he said.

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