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L.A. council moves to review electric rate hike plan

March 19, 2010 |  3:27 pm

Councilwoman Jan Perry. Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times Seven members of the Los Angeles City Council moved Friday to conduct their own review of Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s latest plan to raise electric rates at the Department of Water and Power.

One day after the DWP board approved the first of four increases planned for the coming year, Councilwoman Jan Perry introduced a motion asking her colleagues to take up the proposal. Perry’s request is scheduled to come up for a vote Tuesday.

Although Perry said she is keeping an open mind about the plan, Councilman Dennis Zine adopted a less nuanced stand.

“My focus on it is very simple: I’m voting no,” he said.

The DWP board, whose members are appointed by Villaraigosa, voted Thursday to add 0.8 cents to each kilowatt hour of energy consumed. The panel is expected to approve charging an extra 2.7 cents for each kilowatt hour by April 2011.

That money is needed, in part, to help Villaraigosa reach his goal of securing 20% of the utility’s power from renewable sources by Dec. 31. Once all of the increases are in place, households are expected to pay an additional 8.8% to 28.4%, depending on where they live and how much power they use.

Businesses are expected to see increases of 21% to 22%, according to the DWP.

The council has the power to affirm the DWP’s board decision or send it back to the five-member panel for more work.

Villaraigosa’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment. But on Thursday, the mayor said he respected the council’s right to review DWP proposals.

“We almost always have been on the same page on the vast majority of issues, and I just look forward to what their good counsel brings,” he said.

--David Zahniser and Phil Willon at Los Angeles City Hall

Photo: Councilwoman Jan Perry

Credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times