Archived: Editorial: Los Angeles DWP Disagrees with Expert Panel


We are not surprised that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) is not too enthused about a Blue Ribbon panel’s conclusion on why there have been so many water main breaks since last summer.

The panel concluded that the rationing of water used for gardens and lawns to two days per week has put too much pressure on the city’s old main lines at one time.

Like most bureaucratic organizations, the DWP responded to the finding by saying their studies do not show that rationing is a problem.

So the DWP would rather keep flooding the city streets and residents’ property rather than consider whether an outside expert opinion is valid.

No wonder city residents are so angry about proposed rate hikes and have little faith in the utility’s declarations about what it needs to remain solvent and on the right track.

Yesterday, a divided Los Angeles City Council reaffirmed its recommendation that the Department of Water and Power approve a rate hike of no more than six-tenths of a cent per kilowatt-hour for three months. The vote comes in the wake of the DWP stating it can not take onto its payroll city workers transferred from other departments or deliver to the city’s General Fund more than $70 million as promised: unless the proposed rate hike is approved.

Today the Board of Water and Power Commissioners will hold a special meeting to consider a rate hike. This time around, however, Mayor Villaraigosa is supporting the compromise increase favored by the council.

While backers of the rate increase compromise may hope that it will calm tensions and ultimately result in the city getting the money and jobs it wants, the decision does nothing to change DWP’s less than transparent culture.

You only have to look back to 2007, when the Department said it needed to raise rates because Angelenos had done as told and reduced water usage. Reduced water consumption translated to less water sold, and less money made by the DWP.

Is it any wonder that consumers have lost faith in the DWP’s ability to steer a straight course and be straightforward?

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