LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A vote on Tuesday at City Hall to approve a proposed electricity rate increase comes amid reports that salaries at the DWP are significantly higher than those paid by other utilities.

KNX 1070’s John Brooks reports the City Council is set to vote on whether to raise electricity rates by 4.9 percent this year and 6 percent next year.

The proposed increases — which were approved by the DWP board of commissioners on Sept. 12 on grounds they were needed to facilitate infrastructure improvements and comply with mandates to reduce energy consumption while increasing renewable energy use — are projected to generate an extra $321 million in revenue by June 2014.

But a report by DWP consulting firm showing that the utility’s nearly 11,000 employees are paid about 40 percent higher than similar private and public utility workers could ignite sparks ahead of today’s vote.

DWP General Manager Ron Nichols rejected assertions that higher labor costs are behind the proposed rate hikes, underscoring the average customer bill would be minimally affected by any increase.

“In the first year, for the average person, it’s about $1.35 a month,” said Nichols. “If you use more, you’ll pay more…you’ll be at about $8 a month more.”

Councilman Bernard C. Parks is among those lawmakers who remains opposed to any rate hikes until issues raised in the report — including claims that the average top salary for a DWP utility worker was 41 percent higher than the average top salary for that job at 15 other utilities — are addressed by the Council.

A vote is scheduled at City Hall sometime after 10:00 a.m.


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