The Jury Talks Back

8/24/2009

Giant LADWP Water Rate Increase Proposed

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin M @ 8:46 pm

“But look, you found the notice, didn’t you?”

“Yes,” said Arthur, “yes I did. It was on display on the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying ‘Beware of the Leopard.'” — Douglas Adams

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP) is sending out a 4-page bilingual “Notice of Proposed Water Ordinance Modifications.”*   The notice leads with a number of increases to discounts for low-income persons, but down near the bottom of the first page is the operative section:   “Water Rate Tier 2 Technical Adjustment.”

God save us from “technical adjustments.”  After already reducing the Tier 1 allowance in June, Tier 2 rates will be going up rather a lot.  But you have to fight through several pieces of misdirection and obfuscations to glean this from the notice (which was mistitled to begin with).

  • First piece of misdirection:  They are going to reduce the Tier 2 rate from the Summer rate of $3.28/HCF and the Winter rate of $2.69/HCF to a year-round rate of $2.34/HCF.
  • Second piece of misdirection:  The current rates include a “Water Procurement Cost” (WPA) of $1.42/HCF.  (This is actually extraneous information and only offered to confuse the situation.)
  • First hidden fact:  The new “lower” rate does not have the WPA included any more.  That is now extra.  $1.48/HCF extra to be exact.
  • Second (well) hidden fact:  The added WPA fee is variable, and the example of $1.48 is for November and December when water use is at its minimum (and the current WPA fee, above, is from July when water use is at its maximum).

Luckily, I took algebra.  There is in all cases a rate increase not a decrease.

  • The summer rate goes up from $3.28/HCF to at least $3.82 (a 17% increase) — and possibly much more depending on what the DWP pays for water next summer.
  • The winter rate goes from $2.69/HCF to at least $3.82 ( a 42% increase) — and possibly more if the current estimate for winter water is low.

If you live outside the City of Los Angeles but get your water from DWP, they add another $0.12/HCF on top, because they can.   And, the notice concludes, all water rates might be going up another $0.06/HCF in January, depending on a DWP Commission vote.

Unmentioned in all this is the long-standing fact that any surplus DWP funds go to the General Fund for the City.  If Edison did something like this, they’d call it dishonest and greedy.  But no one seems to bat an eye over municipal greed.

*Note: the notice is not yet online.  Current DWP water rate info


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