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City Council Recommends Electric Rate Hikes

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Photo by twicepix via Flickr

Photo by twicepix via Flickr
After an intensely heated debate at the L.A. City Council today, councilmembers approved a recommendation to modify Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's carbon surcharge plan, which in part would steer the Los Angeles Department of Power & Water to use more energy from renewables instead of coal. Under the recommendation, residents would pay 25% less than originally sought--around 4.5% and business 5% to 6%. The proposal now must be taken up by the Board of Water & Power Commission.

One of many people who stood up in support of the carbon surcharge astutely pointed out that "this rake hike is essential to educating people the value of energy in this city." While most everyone who spoke today agreed with the notion of going green, it was the the plan behind it.

"If you believe in cleaning our air and reducing our carbon footprint, that is not in this proposal," Councilman Greig Smith expressed with a raised voice, pointing out that the plan doesn't include reducing the use of coal. "We're just buying some other stuff."

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Former LAPD Chief and Councilman Bernard Parks added that "this is the worst managed proposal... It's basically insulting our intelligence," he said of how the plan was presented last minute. The Council was warned that if the plan wasn't approved, the city would go bankrupt.

Considering the emergency nature of going bankrupt, Councilmember Paul Krekorian said the Board of Water & Power Commissioners had "outrageous arrogance" for not scheduling a meeting this week to take up the carbon surcharge plan.

Villaraigosa wants Los Angeles to be powered from 20% renewable by the end of the year and 40% by 2020. State law will dictates municipalities must hit certain emissions caps before 2012 or fines could be imposed.