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L.A. moves closer to establishing DWP ratepayer advocate

August 12, 2011 |  1:03 pm

John Murray Jr. City officials moved closer to establishing a DWP ratepayer advocate on Friday, and asked that the city-owned utility hold off on raising rates until the advocate has been appointed.

Earlier this summer, Department of Water and Power General Manager Ron Nichols said an annual increase of about 5% for water and electricity rates would be critical to the DWP complying with new environmental requirements and protecting its credit rating.

Nichols said he hoped that the new rate structure could go into effect by November.

But in a news release Friday announcing five appointees to a citizens commission tasked with choosing the ratepayer advocate, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said that until the advocate is in place, "any action to increase rates is premature."

In March, voters passed a charter amendment to establish an Office of Public Accountability and a ratepayer advocate to speak on behalf of consumers during negotiations over rate hikes with the utility. But the City Council has been slow to establish the commission -- it didn't vote to do so until July.

The appointees to the commission, chosen by Villaraigosa and City Council President Eric Garcetti and City Councilwoman Jan Perry, are:

-- Jeff Jacobberger, a planner with Civic Enterprise Associates.

-- John Murray, president and chief executive officer of the Southern California Minority Business Development Council Inc.

-- Sandra Itkoff, senior vice president of finance and business dat Angeleno Group.

-- Randy Millar, a neighborhood council activist in Silver Lake.

-- Elain Gaspard, Los Angeles resident experienced in working in management positions with community based organizations and Fortune 100 companies.


DWP may establish ratepayer advocate

Council committee weighs in on creating utility advocate

New DWP leader pledges to restore stability as council votes to confirm him

-- Kate Linthicum at City Hall

Photo: John W. Murray Jr., president and CEO of the Southern California Minority Business Development Council Inc., in a 2006 photo. Credit: Southern California Minority Business Development Council Inc.