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L.A. council rejects Jan Perry's move to review DWP solar program

January 22, 2013 |  1:50 pm

Los Angeles Mayoral candidate Jan Perry speaks a mayoral candidate debate in September 2012. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times

The Los Angeles City Council turned down councilwoman and mayoral candidate Jan Perry's move to review a new program that for the first time allows individual solar power generators to sell energy to the Department of Water and Power.

Perry said she's concerned that the city is paying too much to launch the so-called feed-in-tariff program. Approved by the city's utility board last week, the program pays customers 17 cents per kilowatt-hour for energy produced on their own equipment.

The DWP has already accepted more than a dozen applicants and will be taking dozens more as it accepts contracts for up to 100 megawatts of solar power through 2016.

But Perry, citing a report by Fred Pickel, the city's ratepayer advocate, said she is concerned that the city is paying above-market prices that will be subsidized by taxpayers in the form of higher bills. Council members, however, said the cost to DWP customers, from a few cents to 15 cents per monthly bill, is money well spent.

"Yes, it is costing you a little bit more to invest in this. But we make these kinds of investments all the time in order to get a greater return in the future,'' said Councilman Richard Alarcon. "Let's get this thing going."

Speakers from business and environmental groups also urged the council to move forward.

After her colleagues rejected her request, Perry made a subsequent motion to to direct the DWP and the Office of Public Accountability to develop "adequate review" periods for future DWP proposals. Her request will be heard in committee before returning to the council.


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-- Catherine Saillant at Los Angeles City Hall


Photo: Los Angeles mayoral candidate Jan Perry speaks at a debate in September. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times