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Why Your DWP Bill Could Go Up $4.75 A Month

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The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is looking to hike their rates over the next five years, claiming that the extra money will go towards much-needed repairs.

The rate increase would first have to be approved by L.A. City Council, DWP commissioners and Mayor Eric Garcetti, but could go into effect as soon as January of 2016, the L.A. Times reports. Consumers would see their combined water and power bill jump up 2.4 to 5.4 percent annually, depending on how much they use.

The DWP already uses two different pricing tiers, and this new plan would make it four—basic, efficient, high use and excessive, according to KPCC. Most people would likely see a hike of 3.4 percent, which comes out to $4.75 a month. Small businesses are expected to see an combined increase of 3.5 percent, while larger businesses will see a 4.5 percent increase for electricity and a 2.5 percent increase for power.

The rate increase would result in $1.3 billion, and of that, DWP says $230 million would be spent on making water system improvements and $900 million would go towards power-related projects. The improvements would include upgrading water mains, fixing and replacing leaky pipes and power poles, and other repairs. Currently, leaky pipes account for 5 percent of water loss. This would hopefully prevent pipes from bursting, like that time last year when a water main broke and flooded UCLA. (Or this time, or this one.)

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The DWP says this additional $1.3 billion would then enable the agency to borrow an extra $17 billion, which they would use to increase the system's water supply so that less water would have to be bought and imported. They also want to rebuild power plants so that they wouldn't need to be cooled with ocean water anymore.

Garcetti said he will support the plan if it will encourage people to use less water, helps with maintaining infrastructure and "keeps the DWP more affordable than our neighbor utilities." He says, "The proposed rate increase does all three."

However, the average consumer might not be likely to trust DWP with even more of their money, given that DWP has had a few scandals when it comes to money management, lately. DWP head Marcie Edwards admitted that when it comes to regaining public trust, "there is still a long way to go." They're trying to coax us consumers into embracing the hike with this website.