LADWP Rate Hike on Hold, Al Gore Urges its Approval

Photo by curiouslee via Flickr

The L.A. City Council today asserted jurisdiction over last week's decision by the Board of Water and Power Commission to increase electricity rates via a carbon surcharge, a move meant to avoid a downgraded bond rating and increase L.A.'s renewable energy portfolio to 20% by the end of 2010. The jurisdictional assertion allows the council to review and consider the rate hike. They may only reject or approve the plan and cannot make adjustments to the plan.

In a memo Monday evening, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa warned of bankruptcy if the carbon surcharge was not approved. Today, former Vice President Al Gore and Bill Corcoran of the Sierra Club came out in support of the plan.

"[Villaraigosa] has introduced one of the most forward-thinking clean energy plans I have ever seen," Gore wrote. Corcoran added that the plan "would shine much-needed sunlight on the DWP planning process, create thousands of local jobs and generate the funds for energy efficiency and renewable energy projects that will harness the power of sunlight to wean our City off dirty and dangerous coal-fired power.

Critics say the extra charges will be a financial burden during the recession and that the plan is not transparent. Both the LA Times and Daily News editorialized against it.