LA Mayor Promotes Carbon Surcharge for Utility Customers
On February 28, the Los Angeles Times reported that Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has recommended a “carbon surcharge” to help the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power seek new renewable energy sources. The proposed fee, which could amount to $2.50 per consumer, would help the utility pursue new solar, wind, biomass and geothermal sources, he said. The fee, according to Villaraigosa, would also make it easier for the utility to meet its mandated goal of using at least 20 percent renewable energy sources by the end of this year. So far, it appears the utility will not meet that goal by December 31, according to the Times.
The proposal is controversial because some critics say that with Los Angeles facing a $484 million budget deficit this year and with the potential for layoffs and huge cuts to city services, it’s not a good time to charge consumers for new services — no matter how well intentioned. But Villaraigosa contends that a majority of citizens (64 percent) in a recent poll agree with the proposed surcharge and would welcome it.
The City Council will make up its own mind in the coming weeks when members vote on the proposal. Meantime, the Times reminded readers that Villaraigosa campaigned on the promise that the DWP would derive 40 percent of its electricity from renewable sources in 2020 and would wean itself from coal powered plants — still a major source for the utility.
Check here for future updates on the carbon surcharge.