Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa began meeting individually with each member of the City Council, which is poised to decide whether to hike power rates to accelerate the transition to renewable energy.
The proposal which was unanimously approved Thursday by the DWP board calls for adding about $2.50 a month to the bills of most residential customers, while raising costs for businesses by about 20 percent.
Unless blocked by the City Council, the increase in the Energy Cost Adjustment Factor surcharge is scheduled to be phased in over a year, starting April 1.
This morning, Councilwoman Jan Perry introduced a motion urging her colleagues to assert jurisdiction over the actions of the DWP board.
Councilman Dennis Zine seconded the motion, saying he does not support the rate increase "and if we don't bring this forward, the rate increase will take effect."
"People are struggling for survival. It's unconscionable that we would even consider doing this in this difficult economic time," he said.
Villaraigosa noted the DWP first approached the City Council's Energy and the Environment Committee about raising the ECAF nine months ago, and was directed to hire a consultant to conduct an independent review.
The current proposal mirrors the recommendations of that study. The failure to implement the increases would result in the DWP failing to make its payments and having its AA credit rating downgraded, the mayor said.
He said it would also result in the DWP being fined at least $300 million for failing to abide by state law -- Assembly Bill 32 -- which sets specific targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.