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Villaraigosa to nominate private energy consultant as his sixth general manager of DWP

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has selected a Seattle-based energy consultant to run the Department of Water and Power, offering him up as the sixth general manager to lead the agency since he took office.

Ron Nichols, managing director of the energy practice of Navigant Consulting Inc., was making the rounds of City Hall on Tuesday to discuss his nomination with City Council members, who will vote on the mayor’s choice.

Councilman Herb Wesson, who met Nichols shortly before 10 a.m., voiced confidence that he would serve as a “nonpolitical” executive for the DWP, which has been in turmoil as it attempts to meet the mayor’s renewable-energy goals. “He won’t try to play the politics, and that might be the breath of fresh air the department needs,” Wesson said.

If Nichols is approved by council members, he will take the post at a time of political tensions between the nation’s largest municipally owned utility and ratepayers, business leaders and various elected city officials.

The DWP had a bruising rate fight with the City Council earlier this year, one that nearly took the city to the financial brink. More recently, the utility took steps to back away from Villaraigosa’s promise to make renewable energy, such as wind and solar, 40% of its energy portfolio by 2020, drawing an outcry from the environmentalists that backed the mayor when he ran for office.

The department has had four commission presidents since 2006 and five general managers since 2007. DWP commission President Lee Kanon Alpert announced his resignation last week.

First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, who has been the temporary head of the DWP since April, would not discuss Nichols but said he had been looking for an executive with “deep experience” in the utility industry. Nichols has worked 30 years in the water and electricity fields in such locations as New York, Nevada and California.


Villaraigosa vetoes measure that would give council power to fire DWP leadership

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall

Comments () | Archives (10)

If he is nonpolitical, he won't last longer than the others who have proceeded him. The City has made DWP a political shell game to the detriment of the ratepayers and customers. With any luck, they will drive the utility operations further into disarray, and then the whole department can be removed from City governance. As much as the investor-owned utilities get criticized, at least they maintain their systems and have some level of long-term vision.

" ...sixth general manager to lead the agency since he took office."

Don't move this guy up to a higher level of leadership. Six general managers for an important resource-centric department at the city level of government. What portends should he become Governor or President?

The City should auction the facilities. Public power doesn't work without a proper management and Los Angeles doesn't have it. Everyone would be better off if Southern California Edison Company, or some similar private utility company owned and operated the facilities.

Six GMs for one of the largest and most wealthy utilities in the nation in only five years. What's the problem? Look for the common factor--Mayor Tony. The city continues to suffer at his hands as he panders for higher office (because he's not actually qualified to do anything productive).


He already has the job, whether he is good or bad for the ratepayers. The rubber stamp city council will give the Pint Size Mayor what he wants as always. We need to start grading our elective leaders on their job performances as the teachers.

The mayor is on his last leg. I can't imaging a City like this have such a totally incompetent Mayor. Makes me wonder what kind of people live in a city like LA.

The days are numbered.

Mayor V is a fools fool who is not qualified to be mayor of 'it's a small world' in Disneyland. Just listen to this jerk. He makes no sense and is truely an idiot.

more handouts to democrat ideologues.

he came from seattle (WA - a democrat state) and has worked in NY (a democrat state), Nevada (a democrat state) and California (a democrat state).

how exactly is this appointment going to be apolitical exactly ?


Mayor Vilar is a green idiot just like Jerry Brown. Brown says that he going to make California's economy a green economy, when only 6% of the economy is green now!


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