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Will the Death of a Firefighter Be the Tipping Point of DWP Rate Hikes?

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Photo of the DWP Parking lot by Omar Omar via Flickr

Raise your hand if the moment you heard about the death of firefighter Brent A. Lovrien being caused by old 1930s technology, that the DWP would use that as a way to help their cause of raising water and power rates?

"While we believe this to be a freak occurrence, it is a symptom of a much greater problem that we must address," DWP General Manager David Nahai said last week. "The power reliability program we have proposed will begin the necessary investment to address the age, safety and reliability of both our water and power infrastructure that is old and straining under the demands that have been place upon it."

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Lovrien's death may have shed light on the reality of Los Angeles' old and outdated infrastructure, but Nahai's use of the fatality in the same breath is troubling. The DWP rate hikes have been an issue since June 5th of 2007 and one that has been fought hard and questioned by the likes of the neighborhood councils and media outlets.

If the rate hikes are approved later today in city council, only a third of the money actually goes towards infrastructure anyway. The money will also go towards green energy, the city general fund and to higher employee wages (as of right now, the DWP has some of the highest paid employees of any utility in the state).

Memorial services for Lovrien have been scheduled for tomorrow and Friday.