LA Mayor Seeks Green to Go Green

Surcharge would help DWP use less coal for energy

By Mark Walters
|  Monday, Mar 1, 2010  |  Updated 1:45 PM PDT
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It's Easy Going Green

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The mayor's office seeks a DWP surcharge to help transition from coal to more renewable energy sources.

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The good news: LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is working on a plan to help the city’s Department of Water and Power transition from coal to more renewable energy sources.

The bad news: He’d like you to pay for it, by way of a monthly “carbon surcharge” of about $2.50 for DWP customers.

Advisors have been quietly gauging public support for the surcharge, which would provide funds to help the DWP move toward using more wind, solar and geothermal energy sources with the goal of having some 20 percent of LA’s electricity come from these renewable sources by the end of this year.

Without the extra funds, the DWP will not be able to stay on track to meet that goal, set by the mayor as part of a promise to end the DWP’s reliance on coal by 2040.

Of course, this hike comes at the same time the city is battling record budget shortfalls and the possible layoffs of thousands of city workers, and may be a tough sell when city residents are facing scaled-back city services like street repairs.

A voter survey commissioned by the Mayor’s Committee for Government Excellence and Accountability indicated that some 64 percent of those responding would support a $2.50 surcharge to help move the city toward renewable energy sources.

The City Council will likely vote on a new DWP surcharge in the coming weeks.

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